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Students don’t have to hold it and squirm, thanks to e-toilets

Staff Reporter
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More than 130electronic toilets set up across schools in Ernakulam.

An ambitious sanitation project for schools, Suchi@School, initiated by legislator P. Rajeev is nearing completion. More than 130 electronic toilets have been set up across 35 government and aided schools in Ernakulam district as part of the project.

Mr. Rajeev told The Hindu on Sunday that the project’s completion would be announced soon. He said a total of Rs. 1.50 crore had gone into the sanitation project, of which Rs. 1.10 crore was from MP’s Local Area Development Fund.

Institutions like BPCL’s Kochi Refinery too pooled money from their corporate social responsibility fund. He said efforts were made to tap Total Sanitation Project, Sarava Siksha Abhiyan, local bodies as well as individual contributors for money. Work on e-toilets began a year ago. He said the cost of the annual maintenance for three years had been written into the initial cost of setting up the units in various schools. The service vendor is the State-owned Keltron. The local bodies would be able to keep e-toilets running, provided they contributed Rs. 5,000 a year to enter into an annual maintenance contract with the service provider from the fourth year, he said.

Mr. Rajeev said Kerala as a whole and its schools boasted of much higher levels of toilet availability than the national average. However, the task remains incomplete as children need to be provided with basic amenities like potable water and sanitation facilities.

The National Family Health Survey-3 reported that 91 per cent of the households in the State had toilet facility. The national average is just 29 per cent. Kerala is also better when it comes to toilets in schools. According to the District Information System for Education 2008-09, 83 per cent of the primary and upper primary schools in Kerala have toilet. The national average is just 67 per cent.

The percentage of primary and upper primary schools with separate toilet facilities for girls and boys in Kerala is 78 while it is 54 per cent at the national level. The seventh All-India Education Survey also pointed to the relatively better provision of urinal and lavatory facilities in the secondary and higher secondary schools in Kerala when compared to the nation as a whole.


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