As the Lok Sabha election 2019 is round the corner, about 500 girls from Assam, aged between 14 to 19 years, have prepared a ‘Children’s Agenda’ focusing on health, nutrition, education, sanitation, hygiene, water and protection of children.
The group of girls has already approached politicians of different political parties of the State to include their concerns such as flood-resilient infrastructure in the election manifestos of the political parties for upcoming parliamentary polls, say media reports.
The children and the teens have asked whether the disaster-prone areas in Assam have been given priority by the parties.
As per reports, more than 500 children prepared the ‘Children’s Agenda’ under the guidance of UNICEF, Assam and the Adolescent and Children Rights Network, Assam (ACRNA), a forum of 21 NGOs working for children in the State where raging floods hit millions of people in the State.
The report quoted Chiranjib Kakoty of ACRNA as saying: “The children voiced their request for flood-resilient infrastructure, particularly schools. They said beyond erosion, the main issue was flooding because they were not in a position to attend schools… the schools were not accessible.”
It is a known fact that during floods, hundreds of schools across Assam remain submerged and hundreds of others are turned into relief camps for giving shelter to the flood-hit people affecting education of the school children.
Besides other issues, the issues of the challenge of availing safe drinking water during the flood season and lack of proper toilets during the disaster have been raised.
A group of teenage girls has already handed over the copies of the agenda and discussed their concerns with five political parties including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Congress.
The report quoted further quoted Kakoty as saying: “The idea of having some residential facility in the season because what happens is sometimes the distance between the place of residence and the school is so great that even if you have resilient infrastructure if you can’t access them, it has no meaning at all for them.”
Kakoty also said: “Once you drop out of school the spiralling down begins. It could be child labour, it could be child marriage and sometimes it could also be child trafficking.”