ERODE: The lockdown restrictions have not been a leveller. While measures were taken to ensure the availability of essentials to those in the urban areas, this has not been the case in remote and hilly areas. After all, who cares if a young girl living in a remote hamlet does not have access to sanitary pads.
Ever since the lockdown was announced, schools and Anganwadi centres, the only place where sanitary pads are available, in hamlets of Kadambur Hills in Gudiyalathur Panchayat have been shut. Women and girls living in the hamlets have been forced to compromise on their menstrual hygiene.
A resident of Pathripadukai village in the panchayat, Periyamma (18) said, “I usually get sanitary pads from the Anganwadi near my home, but since the curfew was imposed the centre was closed and I have no means to get them. My sister and I have been using clothes for the last two months. Since we do not have proper toilets, it is difficult to wash the clothes.”
Officials concerned in the Integrated Child Development Services department told TNIE that they would take necessary steps at the earliest.A class 11 student and a resident of Basuvanapuram hamlet in Kadambur Hills, Abirami (16) said, “My parents work in agricultural fields and earn around Rs 200 per day. And since March third week, they have no work and are running families with limited savings. We can’t spend Rs 30 on sanitary pads and clothes are the only option.”
Abirami, who gets napkins from her school, said ever since she started using sanitary pads, life has become easier.Since many of the houses in the hamlets do not have toilets, Periyamma said women usually travel half a kilometre to open fields to relieve themselves and dispose used pads.
Echoing the concerns, several other girls with whom TNIE spoke to said that there has been no transport facility to buy pads from main market. Even if we reach out to shops in the market, owners say they have run out of stocks, a girl said.
Director of Rights Education and Development Centre (READ) Karuppusamy said that it takes a diligent planning on district-level to ensure access to sanitary pads in remote and tribal hamlets in hilly regions of Thalavady and Kadambur.