Thursday, October 13, 2011

SC raps JK for poor drinking water, toilet facilities in schools

SC raps JK for poor drinking water, toilet facilities in schools

Last update on: Thu, 6 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Mecca time 

Govt asks officials to submit ATRs by Oct 25

RAJEEV SHARMA

Jammu, Oct 6: Under attack from Supreme Court for its failure to ensure basic facilities in government primary schools, the state government has toughened its posture, asking the officials of PHE, Rural Development Department, School Education Department and all deputy commissioners to submit "Action Taken Report" on improvement in government-run schools by October 25.

The Supreme Court has set October 31 as the deadline for the state government to either explore the possibility of permanent supply line of portable water in the schools where the facility of drinking water is not available or make alternate arrangement for providing potable water to children in uncovered schools.

It has also said that condition of providing the potable water and toilet facility for boys and girls separately was the prerequisite for granting permission or affiliation to the private schools by the government and Board of School Education (BOSE). 

According to official figures, 3431 out of total 21695 elementary schools in Jammu and Kashmir don't have drinking water facility while 9517 schools lack proper toilet facility for boys and girls. At least 6394 elementary schools have common toilets being shared by boys and girls.

Out of the 21,695 schools, there is no electricity facility in 19984 schools while 20663 institutions lack computer facility, the official date revealed further.

Ironically, 7,576 out of total 11,429 government schools, including High and Higher Secondary schools in Jammu division, comprising 10 districts don't have toilet facilities for students, particularly girls.

At least 63 out of total 296 Government Higher Schools (upto 12th standard) in Jammu don't have toilets for students while 202 out of 602 Government High Schools (upto 10th standard) also lack toilets for students and staff members.

Official figures say that out of total 2938 Government Middle schools in Jammu division, 1417 don't have toilet facility while 1648 schools also lack drinking water facility.

Similarly, out of total 7593 Government Primary Schools (upto 5th standard), 5353 don't have drinking water facility while 5894 schools lack toilet facility. 193 Government High Schools and 49 Government Higher Secondary Schools is short of the water facility.

Pertinently, the Supreme Court, in a Public Interest Litigation (writ) titled Environmental and Consumer Protection Foundation versus Delhi Administration and others directed the Standing Counsel for the States and Union Territories to provide necessary information to the Court and ensure that basic facilities such as drinking water, toilets, electricity etc are made available in all the primary schools forthwith.

CASE HISTORY

On April 29, the Commissioner/Secretary Education Department filed an affidavit in the court mentioning that there are 21,695 government schools in the State of J&K, out of them, 18264 schools have drinking water facility and provisions are being made to make available the facility in the remaining 3431 schools.

6394 schools have common toilets, 3537 schools have separate toilets for girls and 2247 schools have toilets for boys, 1711 schools have electricity facility, 4405 schools have boundary walls and 2755 schools have ramps facility for children with special needs.

At that time, the Court directed the state to provide the facility of drinking water in all the government schools on or before May 31, 2011 and other infrastructural facilities in the schools be provided as early as possible, in any event, within six months.

During the Executive Committee meeting of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Chief Secretary of the state directed the Public Health Engineering Department to work out a plan in consultation with the education department for providing drinking water facilities in the identified schools.

On August 9, the Supreme Court of India observed that it was indeed unfortunate that the states of UP, Bihar, Orissa and Jammu and Kashmir had yet not complied with the order in toto. There were many schools where there was no provision of drinking water. The Court directed the concerned Chief Secretaries of these States to ensure that portable drinking water is made available in all the schools of their respective States on or before September 15, 2011 and an affidavit to that effect be filed by the Chief Secretaries of the States on or before September 20.

In case, for any reason, this facility is not provided by any State, then the concerned Secretary of the State would remain present in Court on the next date of hearing on September 22, the court ruled.

On September 12, the matter was further discussed in the meeting held by the Chief Secretary and it was observed that despite the fact that schools are identified and funds were available under different schemes, the court directions were getting implemented on ground. It was also observed that in the field there seems to be lack of coordination among different agencies.

The Chief Secretary advised the officials that a special drive would be launched in all the districts for implementation of court directions for providing portable drinking water in the identified schools not having the facility at present. This drive would be coordinated and monitored by the DDCs in their respective districts.

The government further filed an affidavit on the basis of the decisions taken in the meeting.

Courtesy_

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