CAG Says 11% Of Toilets Claimed To Be Constructed By PSUs Not Found
A toilet block stands in a village in Bhopal District, Madhya Pradesh in Nov. 2018. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

CAG Says 11% Of Toilets Claimed To Be Constructed By PSUs Not Found

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The CAG on Wednesday said its audit of toilets constructed by central PSUs in schools found 11% of them either non-existing or partially built and another 30% not in use due to operational reasons.

The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India on 'Construction of Toilets in Schools by Central Public Sector Enterprises' was presented in Parliament on Wednesday.

To achieve the objective of separate toilets for boys and girls within a year, the Ministry of Human Resources Development on September 1, 2014, launched Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan and sought the cooperation of other ministries to impress upon CPSEs under their administrative control to participate in the project for the construction of toilets in government schools.

As many as 53 CPSEs participated in this project and constructed 1,40,997 toilets as per MHRD.

CAG said seven CPSEs under the Ministry of Power, Ministry of Coal and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas constructed more than 5,000 toilets each and 1,30,703 toilets in total, at a cost of Rs 2,162.60 crore.

The audit examined the records pertaining to the construction of toilets by NTPC, PGCIL, NHPC, PFC, REC, ONGC, and Coal India and also conducted a physical survey of a sample of 2,695 toilets across 2,048 schools in 15 states.

CAG said out of 2,695 toilets in the audit sample, the CPSEs did not construct 83 toilets though these toilets were identified by them for construction.

In respect of the remaining 2,612 toilets which were reported by CPSEs to have been constructed, 200 toilets were not found constructed in the respective schools, and 86 toilets were found to be only partially constructed.

"The non-existing and partially constructed toilets constituted 11% of toilets surveyed," it said.

Out of 1,967 co-educational schools surveyed by audit, 99 schools had no functional toilets while 436 schools had only one functional toilet.

"The objective of providing separate toilets for boys and girls was not fulfilled in these 535 schools (27% of 1,967 schools)," it said.

Out of 2,326 constructed toilets surveyed, 691 (30%) were found not in use mainly due to lack of running water, lack of cleaning arrangements, damages to the toilets, and other reasons like use of toilets for other purposes, toilets locked up, etc, it said.

As per the Handbook on SVA, the toilets were required to have running water, hand washing facilities, and proper/ regular maintenance so as to effectively change the behaviour of beneficiaries.

"During the survey, 1,679 (72%) out of 2,326 constructed toilets were found without running water facility inside toilets. Further, a hand washing facility was not available in 1,279 (55%) out of 2,326 constructed toilets," it said.

The audit also noticed cases of defective construction of toilets, non-provision of foundation/ramp/staircase, and damaged/overflowed leach pit, which led to ineffective use of toilets, CAG said.

Though the administrative ministries directed the CPSEs to maintain the toilets constructed by them for three to five years and book the annual expenses to their CSR budget, the audit found proper maintenance/ sanitation was not available in 1,812 out of 2,326 toilets.

As many as "715 out of 1,812 toilets were not being cleaned. 1,097 toilets were being cleaned twice in a week to once in a month whereas, the norm was for daily cleaning at least once. Thus, 75% of selected toilets were not maintained hygienically," CAG said.

Cases of non-provision of soap, bucket, cleaning agents, and disinfectants in toilets and inadequate cleanliness of pathway were also noticed, it said.

CAG said the CPSEs were required to conduct the survey in identified schools before starting construction of toilets but PFC and CIL's subsidiary-SECL did not conduct the survey while other CPSEs which conducted the survey did not cover all the schools identified by them.

As a result, CPSEs were not able to construct the required number of toilets and resources were not optimally utilised, it said.

"MoP/ MoC/ONGC declared construction of 1,30,703 toilets by the selected seven CPSEs on time (i.e. 15 August 2015). However, as per MHRD data and the Swachhta Status Report (2016) of the National Sample Survey Office, under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, the CPSEs constructed all the approved toilets as of March 1, 2016 and the number of toilets completed by these seven CPSEs was 1,19,530.”

"Comparison of the two reported figures indicated that the figures for the number of toilets completed were overstated to the extent 11,173 toilets by MoP/MoC," CAG said.

CAG asked the ministries to look into the issue of non-existing/ incomplete toilets, which were claimed as constructed.

Also, the misreporting regarding timely completion of toilets and discrepancies in figures of completed toilets may also be examined to ensure the availability of required toilets.

They should also address the absence of basic amenities in the toilets like running water, hand wash facility, urinals, and drainage of wastewater, CAG said adding the issue of regular maintenance of toilets should be sorted to ensure their sustained usability.

"During the execution of such projects, monitoring may be done through Geo-tagged photos," CAG said. "Since the Audit survey covered 2% of total toilets, the CPSEs are advised to review/survey the remaining 98 per cent toilets and take appropriate action for rectification of deficiencies."

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