Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 19:
The School and Mass Education department of Oodisha government has cracked the whip on the officials of its department threatening to stop disbursement of their salaries if they fail to meet the March 31 deadline for construction of toilets in all schools.
Departmental action would be initiated against the officials responsible and their salaries may be withheld if toilets are not constucted and made usable by March end, read a circular issued by the Project Director, Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) recently.
Earlier, the School and Mass Education Department had issued several directives to provide sanitation facilities in the schools across the state. The department had also issued an ultimatum to complete the construction of new toilets and make the defunct ones usable by January 15, but to no avail.
In the absence of proper sanitation facilities in the school premises, the students prefer to go to places outside the campus, causing much inconvenience to them, parents allege.
The district project coordinators have not been taking the missives seriously as a result of which the block education officers (BEOs) and headmasters/headmistresses are unable to comply with it, sources said.
Taking a tough stand, OPEPA has warned the officials to expedite the work and complete the construction of toilets under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan by March 31 or face action, OPEPA cautioned.
The state has 53, 193 elementary schools of which over 50% of the schools do not have separate toilets for boys and girls, a survey report said.
Notably, the Right to Education (RTE) Act mandates separate toilets for boys and girls in each school.