Collectors asked to complete school toilet projects by July 31

Bhubaneswar: With PSUs failing to meet the deadline of constructing new toilets in schools, Odisha government has asked district collectors to take up such projects and complete them by July 31, officials said.

“Complete those (allotted to PSUs) on war footing with construction of low cost functional toilets by July 31,” Chief Secretary G C Pati asked the district collectors through a video conferencing here yesterday.

The state government’s move came after the Centre asked for status of the school toilet project. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech last year had announced to provide toilets to all schools within a year.

“Now, the Centre wanted feedback as the Prime Minister will inform the countrymen about the toilet project on this Independence Day,” said an official of the school and mass education department.

After the Prime Minister’s announcement, the state government had estimated requirement of construction and renovation of 44,002 toilets in schools of Odisha.

While Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority (OPEPA) was assigned to construct 13,049 toilets, PSUs were supposed to complete 30,953 toilets. Around 20 central PSUs had agreed to construct these toilets, the official said.

“As of now, OPEPA has completed 6,436 toilets and balance 3,313 is in advanced stage of completion. The PSUs have so far completed 5,690 of toilets,” the official said.

A standard design for construction of such low cost functional toilets has been sent to all districts and the funds for the purpose will be provided through OPEPA, school and mass education secretary Ranjana Chopra said.

Chopra said the collectors have also been asked to give priority to remote and difficult areas pending construction of permanent toilets.

Chopra along with Chief Secretary Pati through the video conference clarified that the services of District Education Officers, Block Education Officers and other officers of School & Mass education department can be utilised for coordination, supervision and monitoring of the works.

Collectors have also been asked to involve school management committees actively in this work. Pati has directed OPEPA to issue clear cut guidelines for operation and maintenance of toilets.