Bhubaneswar-Jagadalpur, Hirakhand Express became the second express train after the premium Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express to have an onboard sanitary napkin vending machine in the eastern region. The machine has been installed in the train on Tuesday for the convenience of women passengers. The slim and sleek vending machine dispenses sanitary napkin by putting in a Rs 5 coin. It has a capacity of 25 napkins. These will be refilled from time to time. The Hirakhand Express, running through Naxal-affected tribal areas of Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Madhulika Singh, president of East Coast Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation (ECoRWWO) inaugurated the machine in the train on Tuesday in presence of members of ECoRWWO and other officials. She expressed her feelings telling that “This is an initiative for promoting and securing women’s well-being and health on board.”
The East Coast Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation (ECORWWO) had earlier headed a campaign for providing free wifi at railway stations in tribal areas in the region and had also pushed for the vending machine on the Bhubaneshwar-Jagdalpur Hirakhand Express.
The napkin vending machines have been installed in the toilet of the A1 coach which is under the pressure for providing service since Tuesday evening where passengers can buy the pads for Rs. 5 each.
“After seeing the positive response to these machines at stations, we decided to go a step forward and install a vending machine on this train that passes through interiors of three states,” Madhulika Singh, President, ECORWWO told PTI. “It will benefit women passengers of various sections and after we get feedback on this one, we will extend it to other trains as well,” she added.
The Hirakhand Express will pass through Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh covering interior parts of these states. This train caters to passengers of air-conditioned, reserved non-AC sleeper and general unreserved class passengers. According to the source, this train covers a huge tribal area and is popular for connecting the capital city with Koraput, Rayagada and Jagadalpur areas.
Based on a recent study by The Neilson Company and NGO Plan, we come to know that almost 88 per cent of Indian women do not use or do not have the accessibility to sanitary pads. While each pad in the vending machine costs Rs. 5, the government, on International Women’s Day, also launched biodegradable sanitary napkins at Rs. 2.50 per pad.
Besides such great initiation, we can notice that ECoR has also installed napkin vending machines at railway stations at Bhubaneshwar, Khurda Road, Vishakapatnam, Vijayanagaram, Sambalpur and Puri.