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After Twitter, FB police plan official numbers for beat cops to improve accessibility

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Bengaluru: In an effort to enable improved access between the beat police and the public, the South East division police will soon be giving out official numbers to all its police men posted in all the police stations.

The move comes at a time when the police have initiated various efforts to conveniently and easily connect the police and the public. After initiatives such as getting police officials on Twitter and ensuring that every police station had a Facebook page, the South East police are now contemplating giving out government issued numbers to all its staff, including constables on beat rounds and the Police sub inspectors.

The official numbers are given to the public to contact them when they want to inform the police about a law and order or crime in their jurisdiction. At present, only those police officials who have a rank above of the post of an inspector and above is given an official phone number.

According to Rohini Katoch, DCP (South East), where the project will be tested, “The official numbers remains at the station even after the officers are transferred. This will make it easier for people to remember and contact the right person instead of wasting time finding the person to speak to.”

In most cases, it is the police sub inspector and the constables who interact with the public when some crime takes place. “Once these officers are transferred, the public are usually left in the lurch without any information about whom to contact because these officers usually give out their personal numbers to the public. If they have the official, government issued numbers of all the police men, the public can contact anybody at the station instead of just the Inspector, ACP or DCP, especially in cases of emergencies,” she said.

The proposal is not an original one. A similar proposal is being tested out in the Northern range of the Karnataka State police where both inspectors and sub inspectors are given official numbers.

“It the plan actually benefits the public under the jurisdiction of our 13 police stations, we can then extend it for the entire Bangalore city police. Which means that the phone numbers of a majority of the police who work on the field and interact with public will be with the people. The flow of information will be that much smoother,” Katoch said.

What steps have been taken so far?

Twitter: All senior police officers are on Twitter also with most police stations. Complaints posted on Twitter are used as a basis for FIRs. Messages and tweets posted on Twitter are monitored regularly and forwarded to concerned persons for action. An action taken report is also issued every month.

Facebook: Recently, police commissioner, NS Megharikh announced that every police station would set up a Facebook page to better interact withe public. Most police stations have already set up their Facebook pages and are sharing messages online.

Source: TOI-BGLR

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Almost 300 schools in state have no separate toilets

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Bengaluru: All government schools in Karnataka have separate toilets for girls and boys in the state. So claim senior officials from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). But statistics counter this. The 2014-15 annual report of the Unified District Information System of Education (UDISE) reveals that almost 300 schools in the state have no separate loos.

The UDISE report, on its website, says 227 schools in the state don’t have boys’ toilets and 63 don’t have separate loos for girls. And even where there are separate loos, they are simply not enough. For instance, the government municipal school in Lakshmeshwara, Gadag, has just one loo to cater to 500 girls. This prompted the aggrieved girls to shoot off a letter to the district child helpline.

“We have only one toilet for girls. There are times when students end up going to open areas on the campus to answer nature’s call and this has created an unhygienic environment in the school,” the girls wrote in their complaint. Worse, their school campus, about 55km north of Bengaluru, also houses a government PU college and an Urdu school.

While the girls’ embarrassment is understandable, it’s a plight shared by many school students across the state.

In March, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) launched the Swachh Vidyalaya Programme under the Swachh Bharat Mission by setting a target to the state governments to have separate boys’ and girls’ toilets in government schools within one year. But barely three months before the deadline ended, very little has been done.

DPI sources admit, in private, to lapses. They acknowledge that compared to the strength of students in some schools, the number of available toilet rooms are not sufficient. In some schools, the existing boys’ toilet has been hived off to create a girls’ toilet room.

And where there are toilets, they are either in a shabby state or shut. Raghunath Gowda Patil, an RTE activist, told TOI, “About 50% of the toilets in government schools of Gadag district are always locked up as as they are in a bad shape. We will soon give a memorandum to the education department to build new toilets or to renovate the existing ones.”

Nagasimha G Rao, convenor of RTE Task Force, said according to a survey of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), 20% of girls have stopped going schools due to bad toilets and lack of them. In some districts like Dharwad, Chamrajanagar and Gadag, where student strength is high, there is no proportionate number of toilets.

He also pointed out that as per RTE rules, every school should have disabled friendly toilets, but only a handful have them.

Govt schools and loos

Of 21,816 lower primary schools, 72 don’t have boys’ toilets and 22 don’t have girls’ toilets

Of 22,479 higher primary schools, 33 have no boys’ toilets and 5 have no girls’ toilets

Of 44,295 elementary schools, 105 don’t have boys’ toilets and 27 have no girls’ toilets

Of 4,614 secondary schools, 10 have no boys loos and 3 don’t have girls’ toilets.

Of 874 higher secondary schools, 7 don’t have boys toilets and 6 have no girls’ loos

Source: Unified District Information System of Education

Source: TOI-BGLR

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Her mission is to get more girls to the skateboard

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Bengaluru: Skateboarding would seem like the last place for the new wave of feminism to raise its voice but when 22-year-old Atita Verghese casually states “go to any skateboarding park in the world, you will barely see any girls practicing the sport”, you realize how gender politics sneaks in uneasily even in a game that’s considered the epitome of cool among the hipster brigade.

“I don’t see girls, my age or older, take up the sport. I am trying to figure out why and will do what I can to change the scene,” says Atita, who is about to embark on a road trip across the country to do just that.

Starting on December 27 at Kovalam, Kerala, Atita along with 12 other girl skateboarders will be touring Bengaluru, Anjuna in Goa and Panna in Madhya Pradesh, as part of Girl Skate Tour 2015.

On the self-funded trip, Atita and team will be conducting free skateboarding workshops for girls/women of all ages and build concrete skate ramps. Roni Tal, a skate yoga instructor from Israel, will be holding skate yoga workshops as well.

Elaborating more on what she has in store for Bengaluru, Atita says, “In Bengaluru, we will be holding a series of events for three days – from December 29 to December 31, at three different venues. We will be doing a free demo and free skateboarding workshop at the Play Arena skate park on Day One where we will show participants tricks and styles of skateboarding. The idea is to introduce girls to the sport and show them that irrespective of age or body type, it’s a sport they should try. Skateboarding is so much like life. The skills you gain, the knowledge and awareness of yourself and your external environment you acquire, are highly valuable in life, on and off the wheels.”

Besides workshops, on December 31, Atita and team will be building a concrete skate ramp at The Cave Skatepark in Hegdenagar. “In India, most skateboarding facilities including ramps are built by the skaters themselves. I shall be building a concrete ramp with an extension solely for girl skaters here,” says Atita, who loves nothing more than getting on her wheels because of the ‘sense of freedom’ she gets to experience.

While the scene for girl skaters may currently seem bleak in the country, the future of the sport holds promise, according to Atita who coaches kids at classes organized by Holystoked Collective.

“We have parents who enthusiastically sign their kids up for skateboarding. And interestingly there are quite a few girls who come for the classes. In my sessions especially, I have an equal number of boys and girl students, so I think the next generation of female skateboarders will have it easier,” says the youngster who took three months to chalk up the tour. Of course, bringing back focus on her mission to get more girls on board, she says, “Gender equality is important in sports and one way to ensure it is to include and encourage girls.”

Skate along with us

Catch Atita Verghese and team of girl skateboarders at the following venues in the city:

December 29: Play Arena Skatepark, Kasavanahalli

December 30: Vivekananda Metro Station, Old Madras Road

December 31: The Cave Skatepark, Hegdenagar

Source: TOI-BGLR

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