Bhopal: For the first time, Bhopal Railway Station has installed an automated sanitary napkin dispenser. The machine – aptly named Happy Nari, was set up on January 1, 2018, perhaps the best gift for women travellers.
The machine was inaugurated by the senior-most Class Four worker, Anjali Thakur, in the presence of other railway officials.
The machine dispenses two sanitary napkins at a cost of Rs 5. A local voluntary organisation, Aarushi, supported the installation of the machine that has a capacity to store 75 napkins at a time.
It will be refilled by a female staff attendant at the waiting room who has been specially trained for it.
Bhopal Railway station also will soon have an incinerator for safe disposal of used sanitary napkins. Within just nine hours of installation, more than 600 sanitary napkins were dispensed from a vending machine. This clearly shows the need for it. The napkins were purchased by railway travellers and poor women living in slums around the station.
As per railway officials, within three days, around 2,000 sanitary napkins were withdrawn from the vending machine.
Drive to set up sanitary pad dispensers
In India, there have been schemes put in place by the government concerning the health and welfare of the women. In May 2017, Kerala became the first state to ensure the installation of sanitary napkin vending machines in government schools.
Joining the bandwagon, the Supreme Court will also install sanitary napkin vending machines, a step that will help lawyers and litigants forced to suspend work and dash to a chemist or shop selling pads during uncomfortable situations.
The court released Rs 10 lakh for three machines and an equal number of incinerators to safely dispose of soiled napkins.
The Union health ministry also installed four sanitary pad dispensers in 2015. In a country, where menstruation is still considered a taboo and millions of women still have no access to sanitary napkins and rely on old, unhygienic rags for their monthly cycle —initiatives like these are very welcome.