Girls rue defective sanitary napkin incinerators at schools

Malfunctioning of sanitary napkin incinerators in most of the government schools across Tamil Nadu has left female students in the lurch.

Published: 18th November 2021 10:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2021 10:00 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

TENKASI / TIRUNELVELI: Malfunctioning of sanitary napkin incinerators in most of the government schools across Tamil Nadu has left female students in the lurch. Just three years ago, the State government had supplied 4,161 incinerators worth total Rs 11.24 crore to 3,334 schools. Inadequate awareness among students coupled with the incinerator-breakdown is paving way to several unsanitary practises at the schools.

"Of the 1,670 girl students in my school, at least 1,100 need incinerators during menstruation. However, the sole incinerator in our school conked out soon after installation two years ago. Some students throw the napkins in the toilet, and others have to uncomfortably wait till the classes end to rush home and dispose of the napkin," said Puvana (name changed), a Class XII student of Manjammal Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Tenkasi.

When contacted by TNIE, Anbumani, the school headmistress, said her administration had restored a faulty incinerator to working condition. "Our school was provided three incinerators. One each was installed in the students' and staff toilets. The third one remains unopened. We have called the technicians to install the third machine and repair the malfunctioning one," she added.

"Not just in Tenkasi, the school administrations in Tirunelveli, Sivaganga and Pudukottai districts, where I have worked earlier, have not even taken the incinerators out its boxes citing unavailability of suitable power socket," said a School Education Department official requesting anonymity.

The Kallanai Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School is the largest girls' school in Tirunelveli district with over 5,000 students. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) during a visit to the school on December 19, 2018, came down heavily on the corporation authorities and teachers for pressing into service none of the incinerators. The then Corporation Commissioner (in-charge) Narayana Nayar promised the panel that the incinerators would be repaired in two days. However, the machines remain conked out even today. The students of this school told TNIE that all incinerators in their school are faulty.

"We have four incinerators in our main building alone. The machines develop technical snags very often. We will repair them soon," said the headmistress of Kallanai school, Nachiyar. TNIE spoke with students of various government schools in Alangulam, Puliyangudi, Kadayanallur and Sankarankovil, and all of them rued the malfunctioning of incinerators at their schools.

Chief Educational Officer (CEO), Tirunelveli, Subhashini told TNIE that her administration was collecting information about the condition of incinerators at government schools. "We will also demand more machines for the schools," she added. Tenkasi CEO Kabeer said the school administrations had not brought the issue of faulty incinerators to his notice. Kakarla Usha, Principal Secretary, School Education Department was not available for comments over phone.

Speaking to TNIE, School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said his department would rectify all the technical issues, and would purchase more incinerators for the government schools. "Our party had mentioned this in our election manifesto. We will purchase high-quality incinerators at correct prices, and install them," he added.


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