After Hindustan Times highlighted the problems faced by girl students in government schools of the district due to non availability of toilets on Monday, local Member of Parliament (MP) Santokh Singh Chaudhary visited two city schools.
Accompanied by Congress workers, Chaudhary reached the Mithu Basti Government High School on Monday morning which has 600 students but no separate toilet for girls. He announced a grant of two lakh from his MPLAD funds to construct toilets for girls.
Chaudhary also paid a visit to the Government Primary School in Harnamdaspura and expressed surprise at how girls were managing themselves without separate toilets. He said girls were forced to wait in long queues with boys as the school had only one toilet. The MP announced a grant of two lakh for toilets in the school.
Speaking to Hindustan Times after his visit, Chaudhary said it was disheartening that the state government had failed to provide basic facilities like toilets for girls in the schools but was talking about developing airports and flyovers.
The MP blamed the ruling SAD-BJP government for its poor fiscal condition which had led to its failure in contributing its share to central schemes like Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
He also alleged the state government had not given its share of funds in the SSA scheme and schools had failed to receive a single paisa after a grant of Rs. 35,000 per school for building toilets in 2003-04.
He ordered the district education officers (DEOs) to give a status report of toilets in all government schools in his parliamentary constituency within a week.
Chaudhary said, “I will write to the chief minister and the union ministry of human resource development about the problems faced by girls in schools and request them to do the needful at the earliest.” He said workers of the Congress party would also visit schools and give a detailed report to him so that he could plan the utilization of the MPLAD funds.
“I have assured the girls that I will raise the issue in the Parliament so that the government can take note of their problems,” he added.
Non availability of toilets in schools has also led to absenteeism and eventually increased dropout rates among children, especially girls. A survey of the HRD ministry has declared Jalandhar the worst district in Punjab in terms of separate toilets for girls.