Schools to arrange for basic facilities of water, toilets
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With the Supreme Court making it mandatory for schools, either pubic or private, to arrange for enough toilet blocks and proper drinking water facilities on their premises, civic bodies, Zilla Parishads and Cantonment boards have sprung into action. If civic activists are to be believed, several schools — be it civic, cantonment and private — have either inadequate number of toilet blocks or the water tanks are located in unhygienic conditions.
According to a PMC school board official, though civic schools have proper drinking water facilities, it will have to construct enough toilets and urinal blocks to meet the state government norm.
In a directive issued on Wednesday, the Supreme Court set a six-month deadline to create proper drinking water and toilet facilities in all the schools irrespective of their status — minority or non-minority.
According to Shubhangi Chavan, PMC Deputy Education Officer, "almost all" 300 civic body-run schools have both these facilities but the number of toilet blocks are not as per norms set up by the state. The norm states there should be one toilet block and three urinals for every 100-120 student. In a number of schools there are no separate toilets for girls and boys in schools which operate in two shifts with girls in morning shift and boys in the afternoon.
"With a couple of exceptions, there are toilet facilities in all the schools run by the PMC. But we will have to construct more toilet blocks. The Building Construction Department which is responsible to maintain cleanliness in schools has sprung into action and we will construct the required number of toilet blocks and urinals before the SC deadline," said Chavan.
Of the Rs 2 crore budget allotted for sanitary facilities at civic schools for 2010-11, only Rs 21 lakh was utilised, officials said. School board officials said at the schools which do not have toilets, for instance one in Kokate Vasti, the PMC is facing trouble to construct them as these schools are built on rented land and the PMC does not have the owner's permission to build the toilets.
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