Industry body CII to build 10,000 toilets in schools

CII will create mechanism for maintenance of toilets and to develop innovative design for local needs

jasleen

Jasleen Kaur | October 1, 2014 | New Delhi


CII says it will work with industry and government to make Swachh Bharat a reality.
Arun Kumar/ Governance Now

Taking a step forward to initiate prime minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious Swachh Bharat mission, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has announced that it will construct 10,000 toilets over the next one-and-a-half years.

Launching its ‘Mission: Sanitation of Schools (SoS)’ in Delhi on Wednesday, the industry body announced that states like Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Maharashtra will be covered in the first phase and the focus would be on constructing toilets in schools. The estimate per unit cost of construction of separate toilet block for girls and boys will range from Rs 2–5 lakh, depending on the availability of water and sewerage.

Based on the feedback received and assessments on ground, in the next six months it will announce targets for the second phase. CII has a direct membership of over 7,200 public and private sector companies, and an indirect membership of 1,00,000 enterprises.

It said that industry was very responsive with several companies such as TCS, Coal India and Bharti Foundation already having committed to take forward the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative.

According to a UN study, half of India’s population does not have access to toilet. The condition is worse in rural areas where more than 60% of the population still defecates in the open.

The government estimates show that over one lakh government schools do not have separate toilets for girls and 1.52 lakh schools do not have toilets at all. Also, there are 1.64 lakh schools which have dysfunctional toilets.

There have been reports which prove that poor sanitation facilities lead to school drop outs, especially among girls in the age group of 5-14 years. Retention of the girl child in school is 30% higher in schools with access to proper sanitation facilities.

Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman of Bharti Enterprises and chairman of CII national council on CSR said adequate and appropriate sanitation facilities are a pre-requisite for the socio-economic development of the country and it is imperative to provide basic amenities to them in order to have a healthy, productive workforce of future leaders. He said though many state governments had built community toilets, they do not give the sense of ownership. 

“Bharti foundation (the development arm of Bharti Enterprises) has adopted Ludhiana district as its focus area for improvement of rural sanitation. Through an investment of Rs 100 crore, toilets will be constructed in every rural household lacking such facilities. This will bring ownership and people will use them,” he added.

He further said through the new CSR rules Rs 16,000 crore is expected to be spent on such activities every year. “The CII foundation will lead this initiative. Companies which wish to undertake construction on their own will be requested to inform CII about their commitment in terms of numbers. And those who do not wish to build it themselves can contribute financially,” he added.

CII will work with industry and government to make Swachh Bharat a reality, said Sumit Mazumder, president designate of CII and chairman and managing director of TIL limited.

He said various awareness programmes will sensitise people and school children in rural areas, where still 66 percent of the population defecates in the open. And through these programmes toilets will be used not just in schools but also at homes.

He said CII will support enterprises in construction and maintenance of toilets and help them identify where it needs to be build.

The CII’s task force will work to promote and facilitate industry participation towards sanitation in government schools. It will also create a mechanism of maintenance, periodic monitoring, evaluation, impact assessment and reporting. The CII Foundation will undertake construction of toilets, create awareness on sanitation and create mechanisms for maintenance. It will also develop innovative design and technology easily adaptable to the local needs, environmental friendly and cost-effective models in areas such as water management.

Also, companies, which have done exemplary work in this sector will be recognised.

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