Dhobi ghat to go hi-tech

Laundered clothes in Malleswaram to be cleaned in automated method

cleanse: A view of Dhobi Ghat in Malleswaram. dh photo

This is due to a  mega water recycling unit, mechanised washing machine units and automated ironing unit getting ready at the premises of the age-old Dhobi Ghat here.

Nearly one lakh pieces of clothes are washed and pressed by nearly 1,000 washermen daily. In the process, the washermen suffer from the professional hazard of being exposed to caustic soda used to brighten clothes. Also affected to a lesser extent are consumers who wear the clothes due to the chemicals used.

A major improvement is slated to take place due to the Rs 2.25 crore project to modernise the Dhobi Ghat undertaken here. "It began eight months ago and is slated to be completed by October 15," says Malleswaram MLA C N Aswathnarayan, who is the brain behind the whole scheme.  The water recycling unit, to be set up at a cost of Rs 15 lakh can recycle the waste water after used for washing purposes. It is capable of generating two lakh litres of water daily.

The rainwater harvesting unit, which is being set up a cost of around 50 lakh, would help in storing 75 million litres of water. Four mechanised washing machine units are being set up and they will have a huge dryer unit. "Initially, the machine will wash 25,000 clothes per day and the rest will be done manually," the MLA said. The ironing unit is capable of pressing four clothes at one go.

The detergent to be used for the machine will be one of a better quality which would cost less than what is used presently. This would offset the harmful effect the chemicals used by washermen cause to those with sensitive skin.

The building to house all these units and equipment is presently being constructed at a cost of Rs 65 lakh. "The daily washing keeps continuing even now while construction work was taking place simultaneously," Aswathnarayan added.

An MoU has been signed recently with an association representing the dhobis and the State government. They will be responsible for paying for the electricity and other miscellaneous charges that need to be paid but are entitled to take the revenue generated. There will be no loss of jobs as the present dhobis were being trained to operate the automated machines. The project, the first such large scale washing unit in the country, is being looked at with great interest. "If it proves to be a successful venture, we will consider replicating it at other dhobi ghats in the City," the MLA said.

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