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Thursday, March 15, 2012

State may miss school toilets deadline, again

State may miss school toilets deadline, again

BHOPAL: Even as a tribal woman in Betul left her marital home within days of her wedding to protest the lack of a toilet and sparking a " Toilet Revolution," the state school education department would be failing to comply with theSupreme Court deadline for separate toilets for boys and girls set for the end of this month. 

A study conducted by Madhya Pradesh Lok Sangharsh Sajha Manch (MPLSSM), a network of NGOs, in February shows of 188 primary and middle schools surveyed in 13 districts, separate toilets for boys and girls existed only in 69 of them. 

The MPLSSM conducted a study on various aspects of the Right to Education ( RTE) Act in the state in the month of October, November last year, when of the 170 schools inspected in the 13 districts of the state, separate male and female lavatories were found only in 49 of them. The report was then submitted to the state government in the last week of January. 

Principal secretary school education Manoj Jhanlani though differed, "The target for toilets has been largely met. Of the 65, 000 odd toilets required, around 57,000 have been constructed last year. The remaining 8,000 toilets would be constructed by June 30." 

MPLSSM along with 13 partner organizations conducted a second survey in the month of February where 188 schools were surveyed. Of the schools surveyed, 149 were primary schools while 39 were middle schools. The districts where the survey was carried out were Dhar, Sheopur, Balaghat, Mandla, Dindori, Rewa, Satna, Damoh, Dewas, Alirajpur. Three cities; Bhopal, Indore and Gwalior were also surveyed. 

The report was submitted to Manoj Jhalani on February 28 and to the state school education minister Archana Chitnis on March 6. 

Javed Anis, secretary MPLSSM talking to TOI said, "There is a greater problem that was highlighted in our survey. Many of these schools do not have a water supply. So even if the toilets are there, they would hardly be of any use in the absence water supply." 

Agreed Jhalani who said, "Lack of piped-water and operational resource constraints were major problems. The state which gets sanctions for toilets under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) has also submitted to the Centre for the funds in the contingency and maintenance of the toilets under the XII plan." 

The Supreme Court on January 13 had extended its December 31 deadline to March 31 for states and Union Territories to provide for separate permanent toilets for boys and girls in all schools across India and reiterated that it was an essential part of the right to education of children. 

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra had said empirical studies had shown that parents were reluctant to send their children, especially girls, to school if there was no provision for toilets. 

By its October 18, 2011 order, the court had directed states and UTs to provide for at least temporary toilet facilities for boys and girls by November 30 and permanent ones by December 31 which was then extended to March 31.


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