Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday directed district magistrates to identify and induct manual scavengers into the civil defence corps, PTI reported. The decision was taken during the first meeting of the state monitoring committee that was set up in December 2017 to stop manual scavenging.

The announcement follows the deaths of five manual scavengers in the city. “It was decided that if a survey report of a district indicates that there are no manual scavengers in the area, district magistrates concerned will be penalised in the event of any death during the manual cleaning of septic tanks or sewers there,” a statement said.

Kejriwal also asked for a special relaxation on a case-to-case basis if the identified manual scavengers lack the required educational qualifications and suggested skill training. The secretary of the committee was asked to compile a draft scheme for the rehabilitation of the manual scavengers.

While the districts of Shahdara, North East and East Delhi reported a total 45 manual scavengers in their jurisdictional area, several districts that reported no manual scavengers were asked to re-conduct their survey.

Additional district magistrates were directed to ensure relief and justice to families of the six deceased manual scavengers who died recently and penalise those responsible for the deaths.

The committee also asked for a report on the deaths of manual scavengers in the last five years from the department concerned.

Earlier in September, the National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the chief secretary of Delhi and the Delhi Police commissioner following the deaths of the five men inside a residential complex’s sewer tank.