Hit hard by the simmering temperature and depleting water table that has dried up the bore well in their campus, around 250 girl students of a government run Kasturba Gandhi Residential School in Jharkhand’s Dumaria block traverse a kilometre every morning to the nearby Bheemtad river for morning ablution and bath.
Worse: They even carry their clothes to the river to wash. And they are into this routine for the last one month. Dumaria is a hard to reach left wing extremist affected block. The residential school in Harda village is further remotely located.
For security of the pupils, teachers also accompany the students to the river
Says warden, Himani Baskey: “There in no other option for us than to take girls to river for bath and washing clothes. We are already buying 1000 litre of drinking water from Ghatsila for the girls survival, while their meals are prepared from the water that is brought from a village well. Several letters to authorities for repair of the out of order bore well and a fresh deep boring has fallen into their dead ears.”
Earlier in January, 56 girls of the school suffered from water borne diseases as the tube well in their campus got contaminated. The administration then had decided to give the school a fresh deep bore well. However, the assurances remained confined to pen and paper.
Defecating and bathing in open is leading to serious embarrassment for the girls who have have started demanding piped water in their school if the administration is unable to give them an alternative. “We cannot continue this way for long. The government has to make an alternative arrangement for us the soonest lest such schools with water should be closed down forever,” said Dulari Hembrom, a class VII student.
Dumuria block education officer (BEO) Mritunjay Kumar said, “Girl student going to river side to take bath is a serious matter, I would take up the matter with the department of drinking water and sanitation and ask them to solve the problem.”
Junior engineer of drinking water & sanitation department SK Mandal said, “During December 2016 we are going to start ‘Swajal Dhara project’ in the particular village and we would definitely tag the KGBV hostel with our project, which would supply them water.”