Drones chase vectors, pests at Western Railway's Mumbai workshop

Published: Jul 14, 2020, 22:15 IST | IANS | Mumbai

Apart from the drone technology for fumigation or spraying, the workshop has also installed pumps to drain out the water during heavy rains

This picture has been used for representational purpose only
This picture has been used for representational purpose only

In a first for Indian Railways, the Western Railway (WR) has teamed up with BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to deploy drones to step up cleanliness and hygiene in view of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic coupled with risks of monsoon illness, an official said here on Tuesday.

WR Chief Spokesperson Sumit Thakur said keeping pace with modern technology, drones are keeping tabs on the sprawling 144-year-old Lower Parel Workshop, for vectors and other pests in difficult areas or those beyond human reach.

"Some areas cannot be accessed physically or even visually, but drones help us to reach there and now we can keep serious diseases diseases like mosquito, dengue, etc, at bay, thus providing a safe and healthy working environment for the staff," said Thakur.

The brainchild of Chief Workshop Manager Tarun Huria, the Aerial Microbial Disinfection, drew applause from WR General Manager Alok Kansal both for its innovativeness and simple yet effective practical applications.

Thakur added that the huge workshop is situated in one of the low-lying areas of central Mumbai which is regularly prone to flooding during monsoon. This in turn creates problems of breeding of mosquitoes and other pests posing a health hazard to the workers, especially during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

One drone flies around to survey and peek over half-km (500-metres) high rooftops, valley gutters, long down-take pipes, drainage lines, and the complete yard hunting for mosquito sites, and provides video footage.

The second drone follows the path and goes around spraying the correct insecticides at the right time and at the required sites to avoid mosquito breeding, without any human contact in view of the pandemic.

Apart from the drone technology for fumigation or spraying, the workshop has also installed pumps to drain out the water during heavy rains which would eliminate the problem of stagnant water and killing the breeding fields of the vectors.

Built-in 1876, the workshop comprises huge sheds and administrative buildings including some heritage monuments of the British era where the work of overhauling of new generation railway coaches is done with the latest technology.

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