Sharmili Mallick

The Odisha Government has launched the scheme of free distribution of sanitary napkins under ‘Khushi Yojana’ with an objective to improve menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls (Class 6th to 12th) and reduce the dropout rate among girls all the while developing academic parameters.

However, it seems the scheme has failed to serve its sole purpose as lakhs of sanitary pads have been found rotting without distribution at the godown of the nodal centre in Basudevpur block of Bhadrak district. 

Describing the situation, Tusharkanti Rath, a local parent says that both the health and education departments are blaming each other for the issue.

"If stern action is taken against the concerned officials vested with the role of distribution of the sanitary napkins, the pads would not go wasted like this," he said.

“The napkins in the packets have been damaged and stinking. Khushi is a great scheme but if the girl students do not get benefit, what’s the use of the project," questioned another parent, Rabinarayan Dash.

The State Government had identified the Government Girls High School at Basudevpur as the nodal centre to store the sanitary pads from where it was scheduled to be distributed across 165 schools and seven high schools of the block. However, the sanitary pads have been lying undistributed at the nodal centre over the last one year.

The last time the sanitary pads were supplied to schools in the region was in July, 2020, said reports.

As per the data received from the State Health and Family Welfare (H&FW) Department, after the distribution of sanitary napkins in July, 2020 a total of 1,40,562 were left undistributed. 

As many as 7,81,110 were received by the nodal centre in January and February 2021 and again 6,04,800 in November taking the total stock of pads to over 15,26,000, which are yet to be distributed among the girl students of the block.

“At present, a total of 15, 26,472 pieces of sanitary pads are in stock. They have not been distributed yet, while we have not even received any data regarding the date of the distribution of the pads,” informed Kanaklata Das, in-charge of the nodal centre. 

Meanwhile, Bhadrak District Education Officer (DEO), Kapilendra Mishra said that they have discussed the matter with the district health department and the sanitary pads will be distributed soon.

“We have discussed the matter with the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) after coming to know that sanitary pads are piling up at the school without distribution. A joint committee has been set up to expedite the distribution process and funds will be allocated for the operation,” informed DEO, Kapilendra Mishra.