KOCHI: The sanitary napkin vending machine project, implemented by the LSG Departments amid much fanfare, is the latest victim of official apathy. Nearly all the machines installed in the schools are now defunct. With no maintenance, the machines now stand as relics of a project which could have become a revolutionary one.
According to Usha R, a teacher, panchayat officers had installed the vending machine as part of the women empowerment programme.
“They had even installed an incinerator. But that, as well as the vending machine, are gathering dust,” said Usha. “Everything had begun in a grand manner, but it all ends there. Just a gimmick.”
Another high school teacher Sreedevi M S said: “The vending machines have fixed size specifications. But the market is changing and so are the products. The machines need constant upgradation in terms of the tray in which the pads are fed. But that’ll happen only if the authorities concerned enquire about how the machines are faring and depute somebody to carry out maintenance work.”
“It’s also necessary to teach students the basics of using incinerators,” said Sreedevi. In many schools, with the incinerators not working, children are forced to find alternate means to dispose of the used pads. The sight that greeted a parent, who had the misfortune of having to use a washroom in a government girls’ higher secondary school, was of used pads stuffed into the broken incinerator. According to the PTA president of a school, even if the schools approach the LSGs regarding this, their complaints and requests fall on deaf ears.