With the recent deaths of sanitation labourers while cleaning sewers has forced the Delhi government is all set to adopt fully mechanised cleaning of sewers and penalise agencies continuing manual cleaning.
The decisions to shift to fully mechanised cleaning was taken at a meeting chaired by Lt Governor Anil Baijal. The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and top officials of all concerned agencies including civic bodies.
"Directions have been issued for 100 percent mechanisation for sewers/drains cleaning have been given. Police will take stringent action against defaulters," the LG said in a series of tweets.
The Lt Governor also described the deaths caused while cleaning sewers as "unacceptable".
Delhi Water Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam on Tuesday said thhat the Delhi Jal Board CEO, all municipal commissioners and the New Delhi
Municipal Council (NDMC) chairman have been asked to make a report on procurement of mechanical cleaners within 15 days.
Baijal has directed the DJB CEO to prepare Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for cases requiring emergency manual intervention as per the law within a week's time.
Gautam also told the reporters that in the meeting it was decided that ‘no one would be allowed to enter sewers for manual cleaning in the national capital.’
He added that the authorities will press for stringent action or recommend punishment under Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against agencies or private contractors behind any violation of the direction.
He added that they will be putting hoarding across Delhi announcing the prohibition and display helpline numbers of agencies authorised for cleaning sewers and septics.
According to media reports more than 40 people have died while cleaning sewers in Delhi in 2017 alone.