Report on toilets in Tamil Nadu govt. schools sparks political row

A recently published report by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry on a substantial number of government schools in Tamil Nadu either having no toilets or barely managing with dysfunctional toilets has sparked a political row, with the Opposition parties crying for immediate action.

The HRD Ministry figures in the report that pertains to schools run by various States point out that of the 37,002 government schools in Tamil Nadu, as many as 1,442 girls’ schools and 4,278 boys’ schools are without toilets.

In the other category, as many as 958 girls’ schools and 1,159 boys’ schools have only ‘dysfunctional’ toilets. In sum, for all practical purposes, 7,837 schools in Tamil Nadu go without toilets.

The district-wise findings for Tamil Nadu show that the numbers of schools without toilets are above 100 in 16 districts, while in 13 other districts, the numbers are below 100 in each.

Chennai district alone has toilet facilities in all Government schools.

Among the States, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal have more Government schools without toilets than Tamil Nadu.

On the other hand, the data show that Gujarat, Goa, Sikkim and Karnataka are better off in this aspect than Tamil Nadu.

Seizing the HRD Ministry’s report, Opposition parties led by the DMK have raised a hue and cry over the lack of adequate toilets in Tamil Nadu, close on the heels of the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa announcing on the floor of the Assembly a slew of schemes to improve the sanitation facilities in Government schools.

The DMK, alleging that the ruling party’s claims were off the mark, sought an explanation from the Government.

While the Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani, joining issue, urged the Centre to provide funds as Education was in the ‘Concurrent List’, the PMK founder-leader S. Ramadoss said the State Government would do well to provide for basic amenities in all Government schools than keep expanding freebies. Recalling that the Supreme Court in October 2011 had asked all the State Governments to ensure that schools are provided with temporary toilet facility by November 2011 and permanent toilets by December that year, Dr. Ramadoss regretted that the court order has not yet been complied with by many States.

Dr. Ramadoss said that the AIADMK regime had so far spent about Rs. 1.70 lakh crore on freebies and Rs. 1,880 crore expended from the MLA’s Constituency Development Fund.

If just one per cent of those outlays had been spent on providing toilets in schools, this situation could have been averted, he added.

The Chief Minister, it may be recalled, had recently told the house that the AIADMK Government after a survey had provided toilets in as many as 2,057 schools.

In addition, Ms. Jayalalithaa had also announced an allocation of Rs. 72.90 crore for construction of class rooms and 270 toilets exclusively for girl students in elementary and middle schools.

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Printable version | Jun 11, 2021 1:07:23 AM |

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