May 25, 2011 – Maharashtra government has made it compulsory to have a toilet at home for getting admission in junior colleges in the rural areas. The students who don’t have a toilet will be given provisional admissions with the condition of building one within three months of admission.
A circular issued by the higher and technical education department a few weeks ago stated that the toilet block was a must for admission to junior college. The condition was imposed as part of the water supply and sanitation department’s total sanitation campaign. The department aims to ensure that every household has a toilet inside the house. The current percentage of the households with toilet blocks is 65%.
An official from the department claimed that they are getting good response from the students and even the educational institutions. “Open defecation leads to contamination of the water body that result in epidemics. With spreading awareness at the college level, we will be able to raise our percentage which has stagnated at 65%,” he said. “We don’t have any provision of financial assistance for building toilets, but loans for the same could be provided by banks.”
Higher and technical education department has also mentioned that the colleges with the highest rate of implementation of the government order would be awarded with the Nirmal College title.
The department has provided a form to be submitted by the student along with admission form in which the student will provide information related sanitation and also the undertaking.
“The percentage of the household with the toilet blocks has increased to 65% from just 40% in 2005. However our worry is that the percentage has reached a plateau and even households with toilets prefer open defecation. The culture and mindset of the people are largely responsible for the same. Districts in Marathwada and Khandesh are lagging behind in the sanitation drive,” the officer said.
He said that before making it compulsory for the students the department has made it mandatory for schools and colleges to make available the sanitary facilities to the students.
It may be noted that the state government has made it compulsory to the elected representatives from the gram panchayats and the municipal council to have toilet blocks at home. The representatives were given the period of three months to comply with the condition. The time limit ended couple of months ago and the response has been overwhelming. An officer from the rural development department said that it will initiate action against the representatives and some of them may lose membership of the local bodies.