The Delhi government on Monday announced plans to mechanise the cleaning of sewers, days after a 37-year-old man died of asphyxiation while cleaning a sewer in West Delhi’s Dabri on Friday. Delhi Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam tweeted that in the first phase of the scheme, 300 machines will be made available to cleaning staff so that they need not enter the sewers and inhale the poisonous gases inside.

Gautam added that the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government will show “zero tolerance” against private entities engaged in manual scavenging. The government is working on forming a regulatory committee to eliminate this practice, he said.

The labourer, Anil, died after the rope he had tied himself with to enrer the 20-foot Delhi Jal Board sewer snapped midway, the police said. He did not have any safety apparatus, they added.

Gautam, who visited Anil’s family on Monday, said his government will provide compensation of Rs 10 lakh, reported IANS. However, the aid could be delayed by a day or two as it is still unclear who Anil’s legal heirs are, said the minister. Anil’s wife’s Aadhaar card mentions another name, instead of Anil, as her husband. “I have asked the station house officer of the area to investigate the matter, so that only legal heirs get the financial aid,” Gautam said.

In a similar incident last week, five men died while cleaning a sewer at a residential complex in West Delhi. The police said a preliminary investigation indicated that the workers were not wearing any safety equipment while cleaning the tank at the Phase 2 section of DLF Capital Greens residential complex in Moti Nagar. The Delhi government also ordered an inquiry into the matter.