Cracked tiles, wall paint chipping off, showing its withering state over the years, and no light bulbs, such is the dilapidated state of the toilets inside the Zilla Parishad Primary school in Lonvadi village of Yavatmal district in Maharashtra. The school has been struggling to gather funds to repair its toilets in the school located in the remote village of Pusad Taluka for over a decade now.
We have tried multiple ways to collect funds but havent received enough to complete the task, says Suresh Ingale, an assistant teacher at the school. The teacher, who has been with the school since 2005, says the school was initially under the jurisdiction of the Gram Panchayat. In 2009, the administration of the school was taken over by the Zilla Parishad. The officials then promised to repair the toilets before it was handed over. But that never happened, Suresh recalls.
The school has about 30 students with just two toilets, one for boys and the other for girls. The seats inside the toilets have been damaged beyond repair. Suresh adds that the girls usually go in pairs to relieve themselves in the woods. It is unsafe, and they also lose out on their lectures during that time. Add to that, there are animals, which often scare the students, he says.
The teacher says funds have been sought from the Gram Panchayat and other bodies, but they were spent on maintaining the school facilities.
We have received amounts like Rs 5,000 and Rs 2,000 on occasions, but were spent to repair the electricity supply, building a safety wall around the school and other maintenance work, Suresh says. But the government funds under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan scheme, Suresh adds, was not received, and so the repair work has stopped.
In a video shared by the teacher, Nisha Ingale, a class V student, says, I live about a kilometer away from the school. I like attending classes and learning, but the toilet is in poor condition, which makes it difficult to study there.
Amol Sainwar, president of Shiv Prabha Charitable Trust, has now decided to take the responsibility of the repair work.
We have estimated that funds of Rs 70,000 are needed for the two toilets. The toilet is 8 feet by 4 feet for which Rs 4,000 will be required to retile the floor. About Rs 12,000 is the estimated cost for plumbing, repairing leakages and other broken works, Amol says.
The social worker says that around Rs 8,000 is the estimated cost for fixing the roof and brickwork. There will be no painting needed as a cheaper solution has been worked out, he adds. Amol says that donations from people could help give a better infrastructure for the students.