VELLORE: Students and teachers of Adi Dravidar Welfare Primary School in Kalathur village (with 156 students — 76 girls and 80 boys) continue to answer nature’s call in the open despite two toilets having been built earlier this year, from `8 lakh sanctioned by the Tamil Nadu Adi Dravidar Housing and Development Corporation Limited (TAHDCO), which continue to remain locked because the contractor claims he has not been paid his due.
Money for the two toilets was sanctioned in 2011-2012 by TAHDCO. A contractor, by the name Sakthi, with political influence, took up the project and built two toilets over the three years completing the construction in early 2015. After doing so, the contractor has kept the toilets under lock and key claiming that he has not been reimbursed adequately.
Express enquired about the locked toilets to the headmaster R Udaykumar, he said, “I asked the contractor to open the toilet but he said that he had not received payment for building the toilets from TAHDCO, while TAHDCO officials claim that they have settled the money. I don’t know what to do.”
He added that a TAHDCO official Selvakumar had recently asked them to break the lock and use the toilet. “But, we cannot fight with people who have political influence,” Udaykumar said. He added that he joined the school as a teacher in 2005, and since then, there have been no appropriate toilets in the school.
Students are forced to attend nature’s call in the open and the four women who teach at the school are forced to use the toilets at the nearby teachers’ quarters.
In addition, teachers expressed their frustration and displeasure that even the work on the compound wall around the school and the demolition of the old building in the school premises are non-starters.
The school has two damaged and unused buildings adjacent to the classrooms. Mid-day meals are being cooked in the damaged building, which poses serious health risks, the teachers said, adding that their repeated pleas to demolish those buildings have been in vain.
With the school having no compound wall there is a risk of anti-social activities that could take place in the building.
“In the last one month, villagers of Kalathur have been too scared to party in the school due to sand mining issues. We stopped complaining to the village heads as they don’t take action anyway,” said Udaykumar.
Adi Dravidar Welfare Department is taking measures to build compound walls in schools across the State to prevent anti-social elements from entering the school premises. We hope they build one here. All we can do is hope for the best, said Udaykumar.
They added that most schools in rural areas were neglected for no apparent reason.