Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said his government will provide free safety kits to all workers engaged in the cleaning of sewers, PTI reported.

“We are concerned about the lives of sanitation workers and will give free safety kit to those working in Delhi so that no mishaps happen,” Kejriwal said at a workshop organised by the Delhi Jal Board at Talkatora Stadium. “We will ensure that even if the contractor doesn’t provide you safety gear, you use your own kit.” Kejriwal is also the chairperson of the Delhi Jal Board.

Kejriwal asked sanitation workers not to enter the sewer without the safety kit, and administered an “oath of safety and security” to them. “I hope that we don’t witness any sewer deaths, at least in Delhi, in future,” he said. The chief minister also claimed that sewer lines now cover 80% of Delhi.

Earlier this month, the Centre had told Parliament that 88 workers have died around the country while cleaning sewers in 2019 alone. Of these, Delhi recorded the highest number of deaths – 18. In February, hundreds of sanitation workers from around the country had protested at Jantar Mantar against deaths caused during manual scavenging.

“We have organised a one-day workshop to enhance the skills of sanitation workers and make them aware about the use of safety kits,” Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairperson Dinesh Mohaniya said. “There are around 12,000 sanitation workers with DJB and around 4,000 joined the workshop.”