In JK, Swachh Vidyalaya program goes down the drain

The Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to meet the deadline of June 30 in making all the government schools fully equipped with toilet facilities for boys and girls under the much hyped centrally sponsored flagship ''Swachh Vidyalaya'' program launched by the Prime Minister.
In JK, Swachh Vidyalaya program goes down the drain
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The Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to meet the deadline of June 30 in making all the government schools fully equipped with toilet facilities for boys and girls under the much hyped centrally sponsored flagship 'Swachh Vidyalaya' program launched by the Prime Minister.

The government was supposed to construct 18940 toilets throughout the state, however as per the updated status report available on the official website of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) only 25 toilets have been fully completed while as work on 18915 is 'in progress.'

Of the total, 14222 included new toilets approved by MHRD and 4718 includes the dysfunctional toilets.

Out of 14222 toilets for boys, only 14 have been completed while as work on 14208 is in progress. Also out of 4718 toilets for girls 11 have been completed and 4707 are under construction.

The toilets are being constructed in collaboration with Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, GoI. The amount released for each toilet is Rs 1.16 lakhs, which according to the officials stands already released into the accounts of concerned schools.

"MHRD directly released the money in school accounts as per their UDISE code, leaving no role of government in it," officials said, adding that the direct disbursement was done in order to achieve the target in the stipulated time period.

In schools supported by RMSA, work on 206 toilets for boys and 166 for girls is under progress while none has been fully completed so far.

The progress of work on toilets in SSA schools is also dismal. All the toilet blocks including 6947 for boys and 4438 for girls are under construction.

Same is the case with the performance of SBK wherein none of the toilets have been completed so far. Work on all the 6275 toilets is going on despite June 30 being the deadline for the state government in making the schools fully equipped with toilet facilities.

Despite the dismal performance in completing the construction of toilet blocks, officials believe that the target can be achieved.

"We will complete all the toilets soon," said Director School Education, Kashmir, Showkat Ahmad Beigh. He said they have asked all the Chief Education Officers (CEOs) to ensure that all the government schools are equipped with toilet facilities and certificates be counter signed by the concerned Deputy Commissioners (DC) of the district.

"We can't achieve the target because the construction process started late. At some places we had land acquisition problems as people were not ready to provide land for the toilet blocks," said one of the officials wishing anonymity.

He said they are still negotiating with the locals for availability of land. "Work at some places is at finishing stage while some toilets have been completed up to slab level," he said, adding that unlike other departments, education department is asked to achieve the target without providing land.

In Srinagar district the work on 142 toilet blocks is in progress with officials saying, "Work was started late due to non-availability of land."

The dismal performance of authorities to achieve the target took an ugly turn in north Kashmir's Kupwara district when the Deputy Commissioner allegedly used harsh and abusive language with two Zonal Education Officers and humiliated them publicly.

On June 27, the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kupwara, Kumar Rajeev Ranjan, while taking a review of ongoing construction of toilet blocks expressed his dismay and allegedly used abusive words on ZEO Khumriyal and Sogam for not achieving the target.

"He was very rude and even lifted his hand to slap ZEO Khumriyal," said an official present at the spot.

Following the incident, the Teachers Forum in the district expressed resentment against the DC saying, "He could have called the ZEOs in his chamber instead of humiliating them in public."

The teachers forum had called for a strike on June 30 which was later postponed after the intervention of Rural Development Minister and some officials of the district administration who tried to negotiate the issue.

"Every officer is respectable and humiliation of our officers can't be tolerated at all," said District President Teachers Forum, Muhammad Amin Khan, adding that they have deferred the strike.

"Recently he used abusive language with a lady Principal of a school. He has behavioural problems and should be transferred, otherwise we will stage protests," Khan said.

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