Remember Bandicoot? The robot that has the potential to eradicate manual scavenging from our country. They just got closer to their goal as they are set to meet the Prime Minister of India on Wednesday.
Needless to say, the team is super excited and all set to meet PM Narendra Modi. “We got the invitation on the very day we inaugurated the robot in Kerala i.e. February 26, 2018,” Vimal Govind, CEO of GenRobotics.
To market their invention, the young engineers have started a startup called ‘Genrobotics’. After receiving patent for the robot from India, the company has now applied for the world patent, applicable in 150 countries. Manual scavenging is a caste-based occupation mainly involving cleaning septic tanks, sewers and gutters.
Despite legal bans, the dehumanising practice continues in the country. According to one estimate more than 1200 people died from manual scavenging related activities between 2014 and 2016 in the country. The start-up claims the Bandicoot is the tech solution to the social malaise. Genrobotics says it will go global only after “fixing the country’s nagging problem.”
Apart from sewer lines the robots can also be pressed into service for other under-water activities.
Death of three sewage workers on the outskirts of Bangalure two years ago prompted the young techies to think something out of the box to tackle the problem, which is often being called India’s shame, said Vimal Govind, the 24-year-old CEO of Genrobotics. Govind is a mechanical engineer.
“I worked more than one year in the TCS to earn some money to fund the stage one of the project. We all nine classmates of MES Engineering College in Kuttipuram came around quickly and developed the first prototype in six months,” added Rashid K, a software engineer.
“Our guiding spirit is our former President A P J Abdul Kalam. He always used to say dream, dream. The young India is committed to fulfil his dream of becoming a fully developed nation sans hunger and strife,” said Jaleesh, another member of the team.
Kerala’s IT department, which is the first in the country to formulate a start-up policy is upbeat over the achievement of the youngsters.
“The noble product shows social commitment of these youngsters. Many firms including the BPCL promised help to take their innovation to the next stage,” said state IT Secretary M Sivasankar.