The civic body’s Human Development Index (HDI) report, published in 2009, had blamed the lack of proper sanitation facilities in school premises for the high dropout rates of girls in civic schools. Two years later, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has finally taken its first steps to correct this unhealthy trend.
Bowing to the demands of Shiv Sena heir Aditya Thackeray, the Sena-led civic body has decided to form a three-member committee in each ward, which will inspect hygiene levels in canteens and sanitation facilities in all schools and colleges, both private and public, across the city each month.
Education officer Abbasaheb Jadhav said, “Ward-wise committees will include an official from the education department, the solid waste management department and the health department. These committees will visit institutions and grade the facilities there. These grades will then be displayed publicly so that parents know about the state of these facilities before they enroll their kids in these institutions.”
Standing committee chairman Rahul Shewale said, “We took this decision because we realised that there was no regulation as far as hygiene and sanitation in educational institutions is concerned. Hence, we felt the need to impose certain checks here.”
Thackeray, who heads the Yuva Sena, said, “Most canteens and bathrooms across the country’s schools and colleges are unhygienic. Whether students utilise these facilities or not, they fall prey to health problems. Hence, we need to ensure that a parent sending their child to school or college feels secure about this aspect of schooling.”
With just a little under a year for the civic elections, the timing of this proposal does seem to be a poll promise.
However, Thackeray refuted this allegation and said, “This policy has been in the pipeline for around three to four months but the plan has materialized only now. I cannot be bothered about people suspecting it to be a poll exercise because I have been working on various issues since the formation of the Yuva Sena.”