DRDO on a san­i­ta­tion mis­sion

SP's MAI - - CORPORATE -

The De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) has en­tered into a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing (MoU) with the Min­istry of Drink­ing Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion to set up bio-di­gester toi­lets across gram pan­chay­ats in the coun­try. The Min­istry of Drink­ing Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion has ear­marked ` 400 crore for this pro­gramme which will be un­der­taken in phases, wherein each phase would in­volve an in­vest­ment of ` 150 crore. The bio-toi­lets orig­i­nally de­vel­oped by the DRDO for sol­diers de­ployed in high-al­ti­tude ar­eas, can con­vert hu­man waste into us­able wa­ter and gases in an eco-friendly man­ner. While the gas can be used for cook­ing pur­poses, the wa­ter can be used for ir­ri­ga­tion pur­poses.

Speak­ing at a func­tion or­gan­ised at New Delhi, Jayram Ramesh, Min­is­ter of Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment, Drink­ing Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion, said, “With just the cost of a sin­gle Rafael fighter, 1,000 gram pan­chay­ats can be rid of open defe­ca­tion. The Min­istry of De­fence (MoD) has been al­lo­cated ` 1,93,000 lakh crore this fis­cal, while the ru­ral de­vel­op­ment bud­get is ` 99,000 crore.” The Min­is­ter for Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment how­ever also said that there can be no com­pro­mise on spend­ing for de­fence of the coun­try, but the tech­nolo­gies de­vel­oped by DRDO should be ben­e­fi­cial to the so­ci­ety. He hoped that the col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the two Min­istries will go a long way and as In­dia is a poor coun­try, what­ever we spend, we need to spend wisely.

De­fence Min­is­ter A.K. Antony said that DRDO would un­doubt­edly pro­vide the tech­nol­ogy, but it was up to the Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment Min­istry to take it fur­ther and en­sure req­ui­site col­lab­o­ra­tion from state gov­ern­ments, other lo­cal bod­ies and NGOs. “It is now only a pi­lot project and can be a suc­cess­ful na­tional pro­gramme only when you en­sure that all state bod­ies are on­board. Money pro­vided in the bud­get for de­fence is for na­tional se­cu­rity,’’ he said. “Bio-di­gester which is a spinoff from the DRDO tech­nol­ogy is now be­ing in­tel­li­gently im­ple­mented for so­ci­etal ben­e­fit. This tech­nol­ogy is not just eco-friendly but is also cost ef­fec­tive and DRDO will try to fur­ther re­duce the cost.”

Dur­ing the event, Vi­lasini Ra­machan­dran, Sec­re­tary, Min­istry of Drink­ing Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion, and Dr W. Sel­va­murthy, Offg Sec­re­tary, Depart­ment of De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment, ex­changed vows to help gram pan­chay­ats do away with hu­man wastes and open defe­ca­tion. And to start with, un­der Phase I, ` 150 crore has been sanc­tioned to pro­vide 1,00,000 bio-di­gester toi­lets in 300 gram pan­chay­ats of the coun­try. The bio-toi­lets have al­ready been im­ple­mented by DRDO in Si­achen and Jammu & Kash­mir. The In­dian Rail­ways too has al­ready en­tered into an agree­ment with DRDO to in­stall bio-toi­lets in its coaches. Like­wise, DRDO has al­ready in­stalled six twin bio-di­gesters in Jamjhari-Dhamra, close to the Wheeler Is­land off the coast of Odisha in June this year.

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