The railway station at Madhya Pradesh’s capital city Bhopal has become the first station in India to get a sanitary towel-dispensing machine.
Inaugurated on January 1st, the machine is aimed at making sanitary pads accessible for women across different economic strata.
The machine dispenses two sanitary pads at a cost of ₹5 (£0.056). It has the capacity to store 75 pads at a time and it can be easily refilled. The dispenser is referred to as ‘Happy Nari’ (Happy Women) by the supporting local voluntary organisation, Aaarushi.
“When the plan was chalked out to install the machines, we studied several areas of menstrual hygiene and were shocked to know the low awareness levels especially among the rural women,” Bhopal’s Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Shobhan Chaudhri told NDTV.
“We also found out in a local survey that the demand for sanitary napkins is huge in urban areas but due to the affordability issue, they are forced to use other means that hamper their health. Girls dropping out from schools as soon as they hit puberty is another challenge India is facing,” he added.
On the first day of its inauguration over 600 pads were dispensed from the vending machine and it was refilled 8 times.
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