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Delhi L-G directs full mechanisation of sewer cleaning after 10 deaths in five weeks

At a high-level meeting, Delhi L-G Anil Baijal said South MCD, Delhi Jal Board and NDMC will study and submit a plan of action for migration to mechanised cleaning of sewers in 15 days.

delhi Updated: Aug 22, 2017 10:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi,Delhi news,lieutenant governor
Delhi L-G Anil Baijal announced decision to move to complete mechanisation of cleaning of sewers and directed the civic bodies to prepare an action plan for cases where manual intervention is required on an emergency basis. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

Delhi lieutenant governor Anil Baijal on Monday issued directives for 100 per cent mechanisation of cleaning of sewers and drains in the Capital.

The order was issued during a high-level meeting chaired by the L-G in the wake of the 10 sewer deaths that happened in just a span of five weeks. Baijal also directed the Delhi Jal Board CEO and other departments including the municipal bodies to undertake extensive publicity campaign to highlight the harmful impact of cleaning sewers on the health of workers as well as the illegality committed by the concerned contractors or user agencies.

Read: In Delhi sewer, three deaths in just seven minutes but not one cry for help

“Held joint meeting with Hon’ble CM. Directions issued for 100% migration to mechanization for sewers/drains cleaning. Strict regime to be prepared within 7 days. Intensive publicity of laid down norms for observance by contractors. Police to take stringent action against defaulters,” Baijal tweeted after the meeting attended by chief minsiter Arvind Kejriwal, PWD minister Satyendar Jain, water minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, chief secretary and other officials in attendance.

He directed the DJB CEO to prepare a standard operating procedure (SOP) in seven days for cases requiring emergency manual intervention.

Speaking about the meeting, water minister Rajendra Pal Gautam said, “Anyone found sending a worker down any drain or sewer in the Capital will not be charged under negligence. S/he will now directly be charged under section 304 of the IPC which is culpable homicide.”

Read: Vigilance committees to check sewer deaths in Delhi

He added that in 15 days time, the heads of agencies such as the DJB, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), and the South MCD will study and submit a plan of action for migrating to mechanised cleaning of sewers.

“They will study the technologies available across the world for this and present the best options for us,” he said.

Once the plan is finalised, it will be applied to all those involved in sewer cleaning activities including private contractors, group housing society, malls and so on. Besides, the secretary (SC/ST) was directed to upload all the notifications clarifying the legal position on the government’s website so that it can be in public domain for the benefit of the contractors as well as the users.

The L-G also said that employers must provide gas masks, safety harness belts, helmets and mechanized equipment. “These safety gears are legally mandated for the hazardous work of cleaning clogged underground sewers. Employers must ensure strict compliance of the relevant guidelines and proper arrangements of the safety and security of the workers,” a statement from the L-G office read.

The L-G would hold a review meeting on the progress of the directives issued after two weeks.

First Published: Aug 22, 2017 10:04 IST