The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, banned all local authorities, agencies and individuals from hiring any “person for hazardous cleaning of a sewer or a septic tank” after one year of commencement of the Act.Yet the newspapers regularly tell us of those who descended into manholes, choked on poisonous gases, and failed to come out alive. Often, those who go in to rescue the trapped men also fail to come out alive.
If anybody deserves to operate the Bandicoot wherever it is deployed it is those who entered sewer and septic tanks all these year. The 2013 Act also promises to rehabilitate them. Having failed in prohibition the least the government can do is to adopt technology and offer the newly created jobs to those who lose them because of Bandicoot. The young men who developed Bandicoot also deserve our unstinted praise. They reaffirm that AI and Robotics can be a force for good and there is scope for much innovation in many walks of human life. The Kerala government has done well to give these young men at Gen Robotics their first break.