New Delhi: South Kashmir, which is often in the news for growing radicalisation of youth, today had a reason to cheer when Anantnag received Prime Minister’s award for excellence for large-scale construction of toilets in schools.
The administration of Anantnag, which is 57 km south of Srinagar, was awarded under ‘Swachh Vidyalaya’ category for North East and hill states for constructing separate toilets for boys and girls in over 1,500 schools of the district.
An elated Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag, which former Chief Minister late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed represented as an MLA, told PTI that it was a massive exercise and the dream was turned into a reality through effective community mobilisation.
“It was a massive exercise to construct a large number of toilets there. We overcame this through community mobilisation. We also got done a social audit, close on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, to ensure quality is not compromised,” Shah, who received the award from Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function here, said.
He said construction of toilets has resulted in an increase in attendance and decline in dropout rate. “The attendance of students has gone up and there is a feeling of belongingness in the community,” he said.
There are 1,555 government schools–45 Higher Secondary, 124 High schools, 695 middle and 691 primary schools–in the district catering to a large number of marginalised and poor people living in the area.
“It has become possible because of previous Deputy Commissioners and hard work of all staff of education department,” he said.
Anantnag has been on the radar of security agencies generally for growing radicalisation of the youth and areas adjoining the district have presence of militants from banned Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba.
The awards were divided into four categories–Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen), Swachh Vidyalaya and Soil health Card schemes.
West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district received the award for effective implementation of PMJDY scheme in “Other States” category. Assam’s Nagaon and Chandigarh were conferred the PM’s award for excellence in implementing PMJDY.
Rajasthan’s Bikaner and Sikkim’s West Sikkim districts received Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) awards. The Swachh Vidyalaya awards were also bestowed to Andhra Pradesh’s Ananthapuramu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli administration for their efforts in construction of toilets.
Chhattisgarh’s Balrampur and Himachal Pradesh’s Hamirpur were adjudged best districts for implementing Soil health Card scheme.
The ‘Prime Minister’s Awards for excellence in implementation of priority programmes’ were given away for the first time on the occasion of Civil Services Day.