Kids take the lead, tell Palike it's time to act

Water crisis and eve teasing menace top list of woes at children’s ward sabha

“Everyday, residents of Ramaswamypalya walk one kilometre to fetch drinking water. We children are woken up early in the morning to bring water. Hence, most of us are unable to reach school on time,” rued Vishwanath, a fifth standard student.

Vishwanath was one of the participants at the first-ever children’s sabha organised at Vijnananagar (Ward No 81) on Thursday.

He demanded that the BBMP officials present at the sabha install a public tap at the earliest.

Representatives from children’s organisations, migrant communities and students from 12 government and private schools in the ward voiced their grievances and sought immediate action.

The child participants, who had laboured for several weeks to identify issues plaguing them, listed out their woes before the Palike officials.

Lack of toilets, ayahs in most Palike-run schools, shrinking public playgrounds, bad roads, open drains, heaps of garbage and absence of drinking water facilities were some of the issues highlighted by the children at the ward sabha.

In addition to reading out their complaints from a prepared list, the participants also suggested solutions to the problems.

If Vishwanath highlighted one of the pressing civic problems, Sangeetha, an eighth standard student, spoke about eve-teasing on her way back home from school.

Throwing light on the crippling effect of eve-teasing, she said returning home after school hours had become a torturous affair and sought police protection.

Vinutha from Hasiru Sangha stressed the importance of bringing the children of migrant workers to school as a large section of these children had been deprived of education.

Highlighting the depletion of water table in the ward, the children demanded that the Vibhuthipura Lake be rejuvenated.

Replying to their query, MLA Nandish Reddy promised that a drive would be launched to save the lake and that rejuvenation would follow the suit.

Deputy Mayor S Harish, who participated in the ward sabha, said he would release money from the Deputy Mayor’s fund towards the construction of toilets in schools.

However, the maintenance cost will have to be borne by the school authorities, he added.

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