Located off the Kochi-Panvel National Highway 66 in North Goa, the G P S Dadachiwadi primary school in Pernem had its brush with luxury in April last year when Mercedes-Benz decided to build a toilet there under the government’s Swachh Vidyalaya initiative. This facility stands out for being listed as the only one that the German luxury carmaker built in the country since the government scheme got underway in August 2014. It is Mercedes-Benz’s sole contribution to a list of 3,466 toilets built by 12 private corporates during the period.
The state government-run primary school, with 17 students that includes four girls, falls in the constituency of Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar.
A closer look at the list of toilets constructed by other corporates, as listed under the NSSO’s latest Swachhta Status Report 2016, reveals this is not a one-off. Other corporates too have mostly chosen high-profile constituencies or schools in the vicinity of their factories for construction of school toilets under the initiative.
Bengaluru-based carmaker Toyota Kirloskar built 69 toilets under the initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), 25 of which were built in Varanasi, the constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Soft drinks major Coca Cola constructed 10 of its 14 toilets in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, where the company already has a bottling plant and is reported to have been assessing the possibility of another plant. The company also built a toilet in Madhepura in Bihar, the constituency represented by Jan Adhikar Party chief Rajesh Ranjan (also called Pappu Yadav).
Madhepura, the location where Alstom SA of France will construct an electric locomotivefactory, has also found
favour with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) which constructed 94 of its 138 toilets in the Saharsa segment of the constituency.
Infosys Foundation constructed all of its 252 toilets in schools in Bhubaneswar in Khordha district of Odisha. Incidentally, the software major, which has a campus there, is in the process of setting up a second campus.
Tata Group companies Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Titan have chosen the southern states for the Swachh Vidyalaya initiative, building most of the toilets in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu. TCS, which accounts for nearly 50 per cent of the total school toilets built by corporates, chose to build 1,026 of its total 1,509 toilets in Andhra Pradesh and another 425 in Telangana. All of Titan’s 42 toilets are in schools in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. Microsoft India too chose to build all its 22 toilets in Bantwaram village in Ranga Reddy district of Telangana.
“While we primarily focused on AP and Telangana, we also did some work in Bihar and Tamil Nadu as the central government wanted us to take up work in these two states too. The state governments helped us identify the schools depending upon the clusters we wanted to work in,” TCS said in response to a query from The Sunday Express.
Authorities at the G P S Dadachiwadi school in Pernem, Goa, said they were unaware of the criteria for selection of their institution under the scheme. “We received a letter from the Assistant District Education Officer that our school was shortlisted and we just assisted the Mercedes-Benz officials to find a local contractor to build the toilet,” a school staffer said.
In response to queries mailed by The Sunday Express, Mercedes-Benz said, “The G P S Valape and Dadachiwadi school project were allotted to Mercedes-Benz India through the web-link of Swachh Vidyalaya Project. The company is also in the process of identifying local schools projects that need support.”
Toyota Kirloskar, Mahindra Group and Coca Cola did not respond to questionnaires sent to them on the issue.
The figures are part of NSSO’s latest report, which outlines details of toilets built by corporates and public sector companies under the initiative of the MHRD. The report shows 100 per cent achievement of targets since the initiative’s launch in August 2014. But there seems to be a downward revision of the target for toilets by corporates — 3,466 from the initial 5,134 at the time of the launch of the scheme.
After the Prime Minister announced construction of toilets in all schools with separate ones for girls, the Swachh Vidyalaya initiative was launched in August 2014 under which around 2.54 lakh toilets were to be constructed with government funds. PSUs had committed to build 1.64 lakh toilets, the private corporate 5,134 toilets and the Swachh Bharat Kosh (SBK) was to fund 15,852 toilets.
Corporate funding for school toilets comes from two streams: SBK, to which both corporates and individuals make donations, and direct bookings by corporate entities.
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