It has been more than a year since rural India was declared open defecation-free (ODF). But, unfortunately, the actual picture is certainly not as perfect. In Karnataka's Tumkur district, students and staff of a government-aided school have no option but to defecate in the open as there are no toilets within the school premises.
Located in Surigenahalli, a small village in Gubbi Taluk, the school is attended by as many as 140 children, including 60 girls. The absence of such a basic amenity has been creating unwarranted problems on a daily basis for both children and teachers.
School's ordeal shared on Twitter; authorities promise help
The school's issue of lack of toilets came to light after a journalist put out a tweet requesting for help. "Govt-aided high school at Surigenahalli in Gubbi taluk of Tumkur district. More than 140 children studying including 60 girls. The school does not have toilets, forcing children & staff to use open space," wrote Ashwini M Sripad.
She even shared the contact number of the headmaster of the school in order to make it easier for the concerned authorities to provide the required help.
The tweet prompted an instant reply by S.Suresh Kumar, Minister for Primary & Secondary Education, Labour and Sakala, Karnataka as he was tagged in it. He promised to ensure that the "needful is done".
In addition to that, the Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR), Government of Karnataka, also took note of the matter and acted in a swift manner to provide a solution.
"We have brought the issue to the notice of the Dept. of Public Education. They have already initiated the action by spot inspection and advised the school management to take necessary measures," read the reply by the official Twitter handle of DIPR.
Furthermore, IAS officer L K Athleeq, who is serving as Principal Secretary of Rural Development & Panchayat Raj for the Government of Karnataka, too stepped up to help the school.
"I spoke to the Head Master. It is a private institution receiving aid from the Govt. I have asked CEO Tumakuru ZP to direct the DDPI to get the private management to rectify the toilet. I have asked the Panchayat also to intervene & help," wrote L K Atheeq.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2 last year had announced that all the villages in the 36 States and Union Territories of India were open defecation-free. The Modi government had launched the Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (SBM-G) on October 2, 2014, with an aim to achieve ODF India by October 2, 2019.