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Experts find rainwater harvesting only option to ensure water in Tripura schools
TIWN July 16, 2016
Experts find rainwater harvesting only option to ensure water in Tripura schools
PHOTO : Minister Tapan Chakraborty inagaurated a workshop on water at Pragna Bhawan. TIWN Pic July 16

AGARTALA, July 16 (TIWN): Minister for Education Tapan Chakraborty on Saturday inaugurated the day long workshop on Importance of water in the school under Swaach Vidyalay Abhiyaan at Pragna Bhawan.

The workshop was organised by ARPAN society, earth and us, Feedback Foundation and Biome and supported by ONGC and SSA Tripura.

The workshop was organised with the objectives to provide sustainable solutions for making water available for toilets in water scarce areas, to take a step to achieve the larger goal of providing access to safe sanitation to all children for better health and hygiene.

As a part of the workshop a hand washing ceremony was also observed at the lobby towards dinning.

The workshop laid emphasis on rain water harvesting to provide water in the schools.

It is to be mentioned here that the Ministry of Human Resource Development has launched Swachh Vidyalaya Programme under Swachh Bharat Mission with an objective to provide separate toilets for boys and girls in all government schools.

Experts contemplated for massive rooftop rainwater harvesting in the schools to ensure safe toileting of the students in the schools and well-thought Swatch Vidyalaya Abhiyan (SVA) a flagship program of the Govt of India.

The state owned ONGC hosts hand in workshop here today through leading private advocacy group ARPAN and Auroville Foundation of Tamil Nadu for the head masters and school inspectors of West, Khowai and Sepahijala districts to ensure water in the toilets.

According to report, ONGC had built toilets in as many as 205 schools of Tripura in past two years under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) with the directives from Ministry of Human Resource Development. But mostly due to non-availability of water and other logistic difficulties more than 60 pc toilets have not been in use.

“I found Tripura schools are graveyard of toilets. Nevertheless, without considering the strength of students and teachers, multiple toilets were built across the state and most of them are not in use. Largely it is the failure of planning at policy level,” said Minhaj Ameen of Auroville Foundation while addressing the gathering.

While building the toilets the basic issue like need of the toilets, availability of water and location of the toilets were not being considered which largely created problem in making them usable. The school authorities have also not raised the issues at the time of construction and a huge amount of public fund almost drained out, comment Rekha Banerjee, president ARPAN Society.

The workshop brought policy makers, users and other line departments in a single platform to provide solutions for making water available for toilets, to take a step to achieve the larger goal of providing access to safe sanitation to all children for better health and hygiene and to optimize the use of rainwater through harvesting initiatives at school level at low cost techniques, said Biswajeet Mukherjee from Feedback Foundation.

“Tripura is experiencing at 100 days rainfall annually but flowing down to Bangladesh with top fertile soil that affecting the agricultural productivity in the state. On the other, the schools have not been able to use the toilets because of scarcity of water. The teachers are bringing water from their home to cook mid-day meal and iron tablets for the students,” pointed out Subha Ramachandran, a water expert from Biome.   

Addressing the gathering school education minister Tapan Chakraborty said improving water supply, sanitation and hygiene stems from a firm conviction and is based on sound evidence that these are central to ensuring the rights of children in a broader context.

The state government is sincere to explore how water consciousness can be inculcated among children, make the teachers understand the extent of the water problem and the implication on the future situation, underlined Mission Director of Tripura State Sarva Shikhya Abhiyan 

The Ministry financially supports States/Union Territories inter alia to provide toilets for girls and boys in schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA).

Under SSA and RMSA 88,728 toilets have been sanctioned during 2014-15. 1.58 lakh toilets as well as dysfunctional toilets have been taken up by Public Sector Undertakings/Corporates for construction/repairs.

Besides an amount of Rs. 56.51crore has been allocated from the Swachh Bharat Kosh for re-construction/repairs of the dysfunctional toilets. 

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