MADURAI: A sample survey conducted by three advocate commissions appointed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, has revealed that toilets in a majority of government and government-aided schools in Madurai, Dindigul and Thanjavur districts are not functioning properly.
Even a few schools do not have toilet facility. Most co-education and girls schools did not have incinerator for disposing of sanitary napkins. All schools have only temporary sanitary workers, that too appointed by the Parents-Teachers Associations or by local civic bodies.
In his public interest litigation, C Anantha Raj of Madurai said that according to Union Human Resources Development Ministry, 15.45 per cent of schools in the State lacked toilets and there was no sufficient number of cleaning staff available in many schools. Hence, the court should direct the district Collectors to form a committee to study the ground situation and ensure that all schools got toilets.
The court appointed senior advocates N Krishnaveni, T Lajapathi Roy and N Ananda Kumar as advocate-commissioners for Madurai, Dindigul and Thanjavur districts respectively. The teams comprising four to six members conducted the inspection.
As many as 12 schools were visited by the team in Madurai district. Meetuneerathan Government High School did not have a toilet. This forced students to use the toilets of adjacent Primary School. Generally, the toilets were unhygienic or not maintained properly either due to water scarcity or lack of sanitary workers.
The schools in Dindigul district were having similar worries as there was inadequacy in the number of toilets, sanitary workers, and also water scarcity. The Government Adi Dravidar Welfare Higher Secondary School had no water, so it bought water for `9,000 per month from the local body.
As regards schools in Thanjavur district, the advocate commission said only a few of the 11 schools inspected were maintaining average sanitary conditions.
The petition was heard by a division bench of Justices S Nagamuthu and M V Muralidaran on Wednesday. Justice Nagamuthu said the report may not have highlighted the real picture of toilet facilities available in Thanjavur district because many schools could face severe unhygienic and sanitary issues. For instance, when he recently visited a school, where he did his schooling, he found that the toilet was not in good shape.
The bench further directed the Principal Secretary, school education department, to file a counter-affidavit on Nov 8.