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Why tribal villages in Meghalaya want to end cooperation with the state government

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Shillong: Tribal village chiefs in the eastern part of Meghalaya on Saturday decided to end cooperation with the state government until it legally empowers the traditional institutions.

This decision – which is likely to have a major impact in tribal state Meghalaya – was adopted at the Dorbar Bah Ka Bri U Hynniew Trep (assembly of people of Hynniew Trep land), organised by the Synjuk ki Rangbah Shnong or chief of the federation of villages.

More than a lakh people from across the eastern part of Meghalaya on Saturday attended the assembly and demanded the Congress-led government to approve two bills passed by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and the Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) to empower the traditional institutions.

Almost all shops in the state capital remained closed on Saturday. Only a few local taxis were seen plying on the roads.

Saturday’s assembly was significant in the wake of an order of the Meghalaya High Court curtailing the powers of the traditional heads in issuing certificates to people unless empowered by legislation.

Adopting six resolutions, the assembly resolved to take further action if the two bills failed to get the governor’s assent by June 10.

The meeting also resolved to bring all village councils under one umbrella — that would be known as Dorbar Khasi Jaintia — with the sole intention to bring unity and preserve the customs and traditions of the indigenous people.

On Friday, Governor V. Shanmuganathan gave his assent to an ordinance to provide legal recognition to the functions of traditional institutions in the entire state.

Following the approval, the Meghalaya Local Administration (Empowerment of Traditional Institutions, Traditional Bodies and Headmen in Governance and Public Delivery System) Ordinance, 2015 was notified in the gazette.

The traditional intuitions include that of the Syiem, Lyngdoh, Sirdar, Wahadar, Dolloi, Rangbah Shnong in the Khasi – Jaintia Hills and that of A’King Nokma in the Garo Hills.

In a nutshell, the ordinance empowers traditional institutions to issue certificates to villagers within their respective jurisdictions.

The certificates may relate to proof of residence, life certificate of pensioners, no objection certificate for running hotel or guest house, and any other matter to be notified by the government.

The ordinance also provides protection on action taken under it as no suit or legal proceeding would lie against the headmen or traditional institutions in the discharge of functions.

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Delhi Government Working Towards Robotic Solutions For Cleaning Sewers, Septic Tanks

Robots to clean sewers, septic tanks in Delhi? Find it out here

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FILE - A visitor shakes hands with a humanoid robot at 2018 China International Robot Show in Shanghai (VOA)

In an attempt to fully eradicate manual scavenging from the Indian capital, the Delhi government is working towards robotic solutions for cleaning sewers and septic tanks.

To achieve this goal, Delhi Cabinet Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam convened a meeting with experts from IIT, Delhi Technological University (DTU), New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and Delhi Cantonment Board among others to discuss the possibilities and the need of robotic solution to sewer cleaning task, the government said on Thursday.

The idea was inspired from a Robot named Bandicoot, developed by Kerala-based start-up Genrobotics, that has been commissioned by municipal bodies in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

About 80 manual scavengers have been trained in these states to operate the robots in a bid to offset the loss of livelihood.

Bandicoot, a semi-automatic robot, only requires a human operator to stand on the street near the manhole.

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It is a natural thing for man to become dependent on technology, and also addicted to it. Pixabay

“The machine with its many cameras, a robotic arm with 360 degree mobility, and a handy bucket to collect the waste does the work. The operator is only needed for navigation when the manhole is of non-standard size or there are multiple sewer lines below,” a statement said.

“The Delhi government has already taken up various efforts to stop the inhuman practice of manual scavenging and would soon introduce fully mechanised system to clean the sewage system and septic tanks. Still there is a need for robotic solutions for smaller lanes and by lanes where machines cannot go,” the Minister said.

During the meeting, experts from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) said the robot is not constructed for the condition of Delhi. So they suggested that the DJB approach the company for demonstration and feasibility to use such machine in Delhi.

Also Read- Tech Giant Google Ends Forced Arbitration For Employees Globally

While some experts suggested usage of censors in the manhole to check the status of toxic gases, some others suggested a database control room for various sewer line related data and a Helpline number for the same.

“The DJB has been asked to constitute a committee for implementation of various methods to use robot and other type of technology. The government will ensure funds to DJB for this purpose,” the Minister added. (IANS)