Two days to go before the deadline set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi expires on August 15, things have reached a feverish pitch right from the PMO down to districts and blocks as they struggle to ensure every government school has the promised toilet in place before the PM holds forth at the Red Fort for his second Independence Day speech.
98.32 per cent toilets were completed two days before the Independence Day.
Officials confirmed that senior officials from both the Cabinet Secretariat and the Prime Minister’s Office were keeping a hawk’s eye watch on the Swachh Vidyalaya mission, seeking hourly reports on construction status as countdown to I Day began.
Of the 7,030 toilets left to be readied, the maximum pendency is in Orissa which had over 6600 still to be completed as on 13th August. Bihar and Chhattisgarh struggled with more than 250 and 90 incomplete ones respectively. As on date, 6,769 toilets were yet to be completed by PSUs and 253 by the private sector. Coal India Limited, as per the government data, had the maximum pendency among PSUs while among corporates Infosys is a clear laggard as per government data- completing just five of the 252 toilets it was approved to complete.
Toilets to be constructed through government funds had the best record with just eight of them left to go.
While the original deadline for constructing separate and functional toilets for boys and girls across government schools was 15th July, it was later extended to 30th July.
Toilet construction targets and timelines have got derailed considerably mainly owing to the slow pace of work by the private sector that had committed to the project. Alarmed at the delay in construction, the Centre had in June end asked all states to take over construction mid-way from the private sector to ensure timely completion. While the PSUs did better, as on as on 22nd June 2015 work had not started in 23,564 toilets under the PSU sector as well and the states were asked to take over these as well.A total of 417,796 toilets were to be constructed under the Swachh Vidyalaya mission with 141,636 by PSUs and 258,644 with government funds. Continuous and live updates on status ran into the evening with the number of incomplete toilets down from 7000 plus at 6 pm to 6,848 by 8pm. Rounds of meeting have been held over the last few months to ensure the toilet targets are met and no school is left out.