Supriya Dedgaonkar | Jul 31, 2020 | 3 min read
Beed, Maharashtra: In Patoda village of Maharashtra, every woman gets a monthly supply of sanitary napkins free of cost from the gram panchayat. The beneficiaries have to dispose of the used napkins in a proper manner.
The village, in Beed district, has over 2,200 women, out of which 1,000 women benefit from the scheme. Started in 2019, the gram panchayat of the village in the Marathwada region has trained the women residents to dispose of their sanitary napkins properly. For contributing towards the environment, they are being given free sanitary pads.
The sarpanch Bhaskar Pere Patil stated that when he took charge about 10 years ago, he wanted to create a model village, one that is emulated by others in the country. “Back then it looked challenging and we thought of focusing on issues like providing clean water and electricity. Now no one in the village has to worry about it,” he mentioned.
He said, last year, they wanted to help the women, who he mentions have been a great driving force for development and then they started this initiative.
“Women are in all praise of this initiative now and wouldn’t want it otherwise. However, it was not easy to get all the women of the village to dispose of the used napkins,” he commented.
Earlier, a section of women residents would use a piece of cloth during their menstrual cycle.
Deepali Pere, 30, who works as a computer operator with the gram panchayat, stated that the pads are handed over by the women workers present in the anganwadi and the gram panchayat office. She added that every month, they collect the pads from the school and the warden keeps a record, whether the women have disposed of the previous pads.
Another resident Sushila Shingte, 36, stated that during her teenage, she never used sanitary napkins and was entirely dependent on cloth. Later, even when she could afford the sanitary pads, she didn’t buy them because she had got used to cloth, she added.
“Last year, there were sessions where the gram panchayat members and school teachers introduced us to this and since then I get my supply of pads from the panchayat itself,” she mentioned.
Pranita Khedse, 20, who studies in Aurangabad, said: “I tell about this initiative to all my friends and colleagues and how they should demand the same from their authorities,” she added.
The gram panchayat has also set up the sanitary pad vending machine, where visitors can get a pad for only Rs 5.
Ravi Chaudhary, rural development officer of Patoda village, told 101Reporters that the gram panchayat officials had to conduct several meetings with the women of the village to convince them to take these steps.
They have purchased two waste converters and those are placed in the zila parishad school where the women first dispose and then take the new sanitary napkins, he added.
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