Engineer develops self-propelled vehicle to clear railway tracks of human waste2 min read . Updated: 05 Apr 2021, 05:24 PM IST
- The vehicle could put an end to manual scavenging still being used to remove human waste from railway tracks
An Indian engineer has developed a self-propelled railway track scavenging vehicle that could put an end to manual scavenging to remove human waste from railway tracks.
The multi-functional railway track scavenging vehicle has been developed by Dr Sharad K. Pradhan, associate professor, department of mechanical engineering, National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training and Research (NITTTR), Bhopal. The project was supported by Advanced Manufacturing Technologies programme of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), government of India, aligned with the ‘Make in India’ initiative. A national patent has been published for the technology.
Although manual scavenging has been banned in India since 1993, men and women are still seen removing garbage and human waste from tracks with brooms and metal plates. After such garbage is manually removed, the are ineffectively cleaned using high-pressure water jets to remove remaining wastes.
The newly developed self-propelled road cum rail vehicle equipped with dry and wet suction systems, air and water spraying nozzles, control system, and road cum rail attachment is multi-functional and easy to operate. A display unit is provided for real-time control of the cleaning under drastically changing environments. It requires only one person in addition to the driver to carry out automatic cleaning of railway tracks.
“Once the dry and wet suction is completed, the water nozzles start spraying jets to clear off any human waste or semi-solid garbage present on the track bed. Another set of nozzles spray disinfectant on the track to get rid of flies, rats, and insects," the ministry of science and technology said in a statement.
“Water jets completely remove human waste and other wet garbage from the inter rail space. Both dry and wet garbage are collected in different tanks, and once they are full, they can be decanted at appropriate local municipal garbage collection point. A joystick-controlled telescoping suction pipe is fitted to clear the slurry from the trench parallel to the track. The telescoping suction pipe can easily be placed in the appropriate position in the trench to suck the sewage slurry," it said.
As this is a rail cum road vehicle, it can be used as a material, or garbage transport vehicle from track to road by Indian railways. It can also be used as maintenance/inspection vehicle and disinfectant spraying vehicle by the railways. In non-scavenging mode, it can also be used as a transportation and inspection vehicle.
“After successful development and testing, the vehicle can be adopted by Indian railways as a scavenging vehicle for all its stations. The vehicle, having low maintenance cost, compact size, reverse and forward movement, and continuous and intermittent action, make it better and effective as compared to existing research endeavours," said the ministry, adding that after pilot testing, the manufacturing industry can be associated along with Dr Sharad K. Pradhan to produce its commercial version on mass scale.