72% School Toilets Built By CPSEs Don’t Have Running Water: CAG

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New Delhi: A Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) survey has painted a sorry picture of toilets built by seven Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) in government-run schools in the country.

The CAG reported that 30 per cent of school toilets are not in use, 72 per cent did not have running water, 55 per cent lacks handwashing facilities and 30 per cent have no soaps or disinfectants.

The survey was held in 2019 and sent to the Centre on January 2. The report was presented in Parliament on Wednesday.

The survey assumes significance at a time when schools are opening again after nationwide lockdown, with handwashing being a precaution against the spread of the COVID-19.

The CAG reported that on August 15, 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that all schools “should have separate toilets for boys and girls within a year and called upon the corporate sector to give priority to this national endeavor as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility,” the Indian Express quoted the report.

“To achieve the objective of separate toilets for boys and girls within a year, the Ministry of Human Resources Development launched (September 1, 2014) Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan and sought the cooperation of other ministries to impress upon the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) under their administrative control to participate in the project for the construction of toilets in government schools. 53 CPSEs participated in this project and constructed 1,40,997 toilets as per MHRD,” the report states.

The report stated that of the 2,612 toilets reported by CPSEs to have been built, but 200 toilets were not found constructed and 86 toilets were found to be partially constructed, totaling 11 per cent. “Out of 1,967 coeducational schools surveyed, 99 had no functional toilets while 436 had only one functional toilet. The objective of providing separate toilets for boys and girls was not fulfilled in these 535 cases (27 percent).”

The report also stated that out of 2,326 constructed toilets, 30 percent (691) were found not in use “mainly due to lack of running water, lack of cleaning arrangements, damages to the toilets, and other reasons like use of toilets for other purposes, toilets locked up”.

Out of 1,119 toilets constructed by Coal India Limited in the audit, a total of 14 percent were found unbuilt or partially constructed in Odisha, MP, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand, while 17 percent of the 564 toilets built by NTPC were either non-existent or partially constructed in Bihar, West Bengal (WB), Haryana, a and Madhya Pradesh(MP).

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