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Safe drinking water project for schools

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A RARITY FOR THE UNDERPRIVILEGED: Children of a primary school examine drinking water bottles distributed by the Rotary movement to them at a function at Queen Mary's College on Monday. Photo: Shaju John
A RARITY FOR THE UNDERPRIVILEGED: Children of a primary school examine drinking water bottles distributed by the Rotary movement to them at a function at Queen Mary's College on Monday. Photo: Shaju John

Staff Reporter

Rotary International, Coca Cola tie-up to provide safe drinking water

CHENNAI: Children of primary and panchayat schools in and around the city will soon get access to safe drinking water, following the launch of a project to provide school water filtration systems.

The project was kicked off at the Social Service League School in Queen Mary's College on Monday.

The `Elixir of Life' project, conceived jointly by Rotary International and Coca Cola India, will ensure potable water in 100 primary and panchayat schools in the first phase. About 150 children of Social Service League School will enjoy the benefit of the two filtration systems installed as part of the project.

Inaugurating the project, Thangam Thennarasu, Minister for School Education, said that 6,103 schools across the state lacked safe drinking water. A three-year scheme for providing safe drinking water and toilet facilities in such schools was underway. Girls' schools would be given first priority in the scheme.

The Minister said that a syllabus on health and hygiene would be introduced in the coming academic year for students from Class six onwards. Lauding the efforts of Rotary International, he said such projects would benefit rural children as unsafe water paved way to several water borne diseases. N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief, The Hindu , cited a recent discussion by a group in Kolkata led by renowned economist Amartya Sen on child health and education. Tamil Nadu had been doing exceedingly well in education, he said.

The law on free and compulsory elementary education needed better enforcement as child labour was still prevalent in pockets across the state. Moreover, proper facilities and infrastructure in schools must be ensured for quality education, he said.

Deepak Jolly, vice-president (Public Affairs and Communications), Coca Cola India, said that the project would also cover districts of Tiruvannamalai, Vellore, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu. Four more schools have been identified in Villivakkam, Mogappair and Sriperumbudur for the project.

The 250-litre per hour capacity filtration plants have been installed in the school at a cost of Rs.60,000, he added.

The school functioning since 1930 recently got a facelift with another project of Rotary International. R. Benjamin Cherian, chairman of R.I.Dist. 3230 Rotary Centenary Charitable Trust, J.B.Kamdar, Rotary International Dist.3230 and Queen Mary's College principal, Eugenie Pinto also participated.

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