Fourteen-year-old Tamanna waits impatiently for the school bell to ring so that she can rush back home.
Same is the plight of her friends Raksha, Kajal, Manisha and others who face similar problem.
They are students of Class 5 at a secondary school of Jamunapar in Agra where about 90 students study.
Of these, 40 are girls who do not consume water or have lunch due to lack of toilet in their school. The boys too face similar difficulty, but they have an ‘option’.
“We go to the Yamuna bank to relieve ourselves, but during floods we are scared to go there and prefer not to come to school,” said Jugnu, Class 4 student.
The school authorities are aware of the problems but appear to be helpless.
“We also face similar difficulties – the female staff use the toilets at the houses of the children studying here. We have informed our block education officer a number of times verbally as well as in writing but we have not received any reply,” said Raj Veer Singh, incharge of the school.
Another school in a locality not far away from the district headquarters faces a different and unique problem.
The primary school in the Shahadra locality has a toilet but it is locked and the key remains with the staff.
“The strength of our school is nearly 100 and the toilet is locked because there is no arrangement for its cleaning. We have asked the authorities to deploy a sweeper to clean it at least once a week but nothing has been done,” Manju Kumari, a teacher said.
The Mail Today team also visited about a dozen schools in Jagdishpur, Eidgah, Nagla Padi, Quila and other localities where the girl students shared similar woes.
“There are 500 schools in the circle that do not have toilets and another 800 schools have no proper drinking water facility. The problem persists due to lack of interest of the officials of the education department,” said Brajesh Dixit, secretary, UP Primary Teachers’ Association.
Meanwhile, the district administration has expressed concern over the issue.
“We have lack of funds at present, but I would like to assure you that as soon as the budget is allocated, we will address the problem,” district magistrate of Agra Gaurav Dayal told Media.