Ministries spar over methods to build millions of toilets in schools

  • M Rajendran, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 07, 2014 01:07 IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to build toilets in every school in India has hit a brick wall, almost!

While a few central public sector companies and ministries are in favour of the traditional brick and cement model for building the toilets, some other ministries want a prefab model.

Hindustan Times studied the models closely and found that the cost incurred in both cases is almost the same. (see graphic). Hence, it will be the speed and cost of maintenance that is likely to determine the viability of this mega project.

However, the social and political cost of delay could be more than the cost of construction and maintenance. The concerned ministries are likely to soon call a meeting to sort out the issue.

Hindustan Prefab Ltd (HPL), which proposes to take up the construction of toilets in schools under the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” project, is confident that the only way to complete this project is through the prefab model.

“The overall quantum of works in this project is huge, hence it is not possible to effectively implement this scheme by conventional methodology i.e. brickwork/ concrete roof slab in given scheduled completion time of one year,” said Rajesh Goel, CMD, HPL.

Analysts suggest taking the middle path. “The construction of toilets with partial prefab solution, i.e. conventional method for construction of foundation up to the plinth level and super structure through appropriate prefab technology is an option to break the stalemate,” said RK Safaya, principal of Delhi-based Vastukala Academy.

“Maintenance is a critical issue that cannot be ignored and has to be built into the cost. This will prove critical for the success or failure of the project,” he added.

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