India CSR News Network
PUNE: Toilets Scarce or None at All, Students ‘Ration’ Water Intake “We don’t drink too much water before coming to school so that we don’t have to use the public toilet that is always dirty. In case it is very urgent, we take permission from the teacher and go home.” This is what a class X student of a school run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) revealed.
The reply to an RTI query by an advocate shows many PMC-run schools do not have proper toilets. In some schools, there are no separate toilets for girls and in some others, there is no toilet at all, which is against government guidelines that make it mandatory for schools to have a toilet for every 40 students.
Advocate Chetan Gandhi of PM Shah Foundation had filed the RTI application with the PMC Education Board seeking information on “health practices” followed at PMC schools.
Sheikh Samrunisa, principal of Shahid Abdul Hamid Primary School, admitted that there are no separate toilets for girl students in the school, which has 14 toilet blocks on its premises meant for its 1,171 students. With just eight classrooms, more than 80 students are crammed into each, in two shifts. The Maharana Pratap School, too, does not have a separate toilet for girls.
At Sajnabai Bhandari School on Tadiwala Road, the lone toilet is reserved for the school staff. Students use the nearby public toilet. The headmaster of the school, Sahebrao Kondiba Gund, says after he took over as headmaster in 2008, he had written a number of letters to the civic administration and submitted a plan for building a toilet but the move elicited no action.
Even at Viththalrao Gadgil Primary School, where around 350 students study in the morning shift and 600 in the afternoon shift, there are just four toilet blocks. The student who said she drinks less water before coming to school because of the dirty public toilet they have to use is Parul Kamble (name changed) of Sajnabai Bhandari School, started in 1967. It has seven small classrooms for 575 students who attend classes in two shifts. The classrooms do not have fans and there is no boundary wall. There is just one water tap for the students. Construction material that belongs to a private builder is heaped on the school premises.The school had a small hostel called Mahindra Vidyarthi Vastigruha, which was de-recognised last year as there was no toilet.
“Some of these schools are built on land taken on rent. We do not have permission to build toilets without the the owner’s permission,” said Sangeeta Tiwari, PMC Education Board chairperson. She added that these schools are located near public toilets so that students can use them instead. “We have written to ward officers of areas where schools are located about appointing more staff to clean the toilets but to no avail,” added Tiwari. She said if the High Court allows the use of Rs 4.5 crore, deposited with the court after the PMC school uniform scam of 2008 came to light and which has been lying idle, it will be possible to create the required infrastructure using Rs 1.5 crore.