Mumbai: Congress legislator Kapil Patil Monday demanded that a holiday on Gandhi Jayanti should be restored for schools to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, which was cancelled in Maharashtra following a central government directive.
In a letter to Chief Secretary S. Kshatriya, Patil said the Oct 2 holiday has been cancelled to implement Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya' campaign announced in his Independence Day address this year.
"The students will be now required to attend school that day and clean up classrooms, school premises and even the rest rooms," Patil said.
Scheduled to be undertaken between Sep 25 and Oct 31, he said the campaign is part of the Nirmal Bharat Scheme, stipulating a toilet for every school in the country.
"The 'Swachh Bharat, Swachh Vidyalaya' campaign had been implemented in Maharashtra since one year, even before the central government announced its plans to undertake it this year," Patil said.
In March 2013, Rs.36 crore had been sanctioned by former deputy chief minister and finance minister Ajit Pawar for the purpose and the implementation started on Aug 15, 2014.
"In fact, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was making his appeal from the Red Fort, former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan was inaugurating the first public bio-toilet in Ganesh Vidyalaya, Dharavi," Patil said.
Besides, he appealed to the administration of the poll-bound state to immediately withdraw the ban on Oct 2 holiday and enable people to celebrate the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi as they have been doing in the past.