Mayawati pledges women’s toilets in 90,000 village schools

March 8th, 2008 - 8:04 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Bahujan Samaj Party

Lucknow, March 8 (IANS) As many as 90,000 primary schools spread across the villages of Uttar Pradesh will soon have toilets for women, Chief Minister Mayawati announced at a special function here to mark International Women’s Day Saturday. “It is a pity that this essential need was not realised all these years,” Mayawati said.

“We will also conduct a survey for building toilet complexes exclusively for women in all villages of the state,” she added.

Referring to her recent decision to appoint sweepers in all villages, she said: “Once these sweepers are in place, the problem of routine cleaning of the women’s public toilets would also be taken care of.”

The chief minister announced several other sops for women. Foremost of these was a hike in widows’ pension from Rs.150 to Rs.300 a month and an ex-gratia payment of Rs.10,000 towards the marriage of every widow’s daughter.

Considering the social and economic plight of widows seeking to re-marry in a dogmatic rural society, Mayawati also announced a one-time cash incentive of Rs.11,000 to all widows under 35 getting married again.

“I have created a Mahila Nidhi (women’s fund) for this purpose and I am sure that this will go a long way in providing some kind of economic empowerment to women in this state,” she said.

“A state level Women’s Protection and Exploitation Control Cell has also been set up with an allocation of Rs.100 million for the financial year 2008-09,” she pointed out.

With a view to ensuring a more effective enforcement of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005, the government proposes to appoint full-time Women Protection Officers at the district level, she said.

Mayawati praised the “commendable work” done by the State Women’s Commission, headed by her trusted aide Satish Misra’s sister Abha Agnihotri.

“It was my government that established the state women’s commission here in 2002 and now when I assumed power for the fourth time, I decided to give greater authority to the commission, which was doing excellent work,” she observed.

Mayawati also enumerated the contribution of her party ideologues - Bhimrao Ambedkar and Jyotiba Phule - towards the empowerment of women. She did not miss out on praising her mentor and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) founder Kanshi Ram.

“What Kanshi Ramji did for the betterment of the downtrodden women was unparalleled,” she said.

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