The government school of Polapathar village in Betul, MP, had toilets for students and 3 hand-pumps but no water. As a result, the students had no access to drinking water. Not just that, lack of water in the toilets forced the students to open-defecate. This resulted in high dropout rate among girls above 7th standard.
Rashmi didi, a villager, was concerned about this issue for a long time. She tried talking to the Sarpanch and the teachers of the school about the issue but nothing changed. Nobody had a clue as to who is responsible to resolve this problem. When Rashmi didi joined the Civic Literacy and Engagement Programme cohort, she understood the Constitutional framework of working on similar issues. She wrote an application to the Janpad Panchayat and the District Education Office of Betul regarding the hand-pumps. The officer refused to accept the complaint and directed her to PHE department. The department gave an assurance that the problem would get resolved. But again, nothing had changed. After going to many offices and waiting for more than a month she decided to file an online complaint. Within 15 days, the hand-pumps were up and running!
Not knowing one’s roles and responsibilities as a citizen is probably the only thing that stops people from taking action. But once you understand the power of the Constitution and your rights as a citizen, there is nothing that can stop your efforts. Listen to Rashmi didi’s story here.
Where: The Scheduled Caste Residential Ashram school, Mohida, Block Shahada, Dist. Nandurbar
What: Scarcity of drinking water
The Scheduled Caste Residential Ashramschool run by Social Welfare Ministry, Maharashtra in Mohida, Block Shahada, Dist. Nandurbar chose to work on issue of scarce drinking water. The school has students from 6th to 10th std. studying and living in the hostel. The first issue chosen by students was of drinking water. The school faced scarcity of drinking water in their premises. Though it has a tube well, the groundwater in the location is all hard water and need to be put into water filters before drinking it. Water filters had not been in working condition since some months. This was direct violation of article -21 (Right to life) in the Constitution of India. The first application submitted by students was to Grampanchayat Mohida asking for a separate waterline for drinking water. The Sarpanch and other gram panchayat members interacted with students and showed them the correspondence between Grampanchayat and the other government offices demanding appropriate sources for drinking water to villagers. The whole village currently relies on hard water that is available to them through tube wells.
As the students could not see an immediate permanent solution to address their issue, they held a meeting with warden and school principal asking for repair of water filters. The two water filters had remained closed for long time. Taking cognizance of the application made by the students, one water filter was repaired and was put to use again by the school authorities.
Where: Students of R.G. Palande Ashram school, Mukhai, Block. Shirur, Dist. Pune
What: Vaccination of street dogs in village
Impact: In response to the application submitted by students, eight stray dogs in Mukhai village were vaccinated by the vet clinic.
Students of R.G. Palande Ashram school, Mukhai, Block. Shikrapur, Dist. Pune chose to work on issue of vaccination of stray dogs. Not only did the students study Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1960, they also found out the authority responsible for it. Armed with knowledge, students submitted their application to the government vet clinic run by Zilla Parishad. The medical officer at vet clinic spoke with students and explained them the entire process of his office. Subsequently eight of the stray dogs in the village were vaccinated.
Where: Mahatma Phule Madhyamik Ashramschool, Katgun Block, Khatav, Dist. Satara
What: Building a wall compound around the school
Students of Mahatma Phule Madhyamik Ashramshala, Katgun, Block, Khatav, Dist. Satara had made an application to Grampanchayat Katgun regarding building a wall compound around their school. The school premises belonged to Grampanchayat Katgun and was being used by school on lease basis. Students had attached copies of Right to Education Act 2009 which mandates every school premises to have wall compound around it.
The application was submitted in month of January and was followed up for couple of months by students. The Grampanchayat Katgun used Rs. 1,21,000/- from the budget and got the school much awaited wall compound.
What: Zebra crossing outside the school
Where: Samata Secondary Ashramschool, Padegaon, Block, Khandala, Dist. Satara
Impact: Mission accomplished. Students can cross the road safely now
Students at Samata Secondary Ashramschool, Padegaon, Block, Khandala, Dist. Satara chose issue of Zebra crossing on the road outside their school. The school is located right at the toll plaza (which is no more operational) by the river called NEERA and the road experiences heavy traffic being the Pune – Pandharpur highway.
Having studies government orders and guidelines, students had an idea that the law safeguards their right to safety. The applications were filed at offices of Public Works Department of Lonand and Satara respectively and in a short span of time the action was taken.