Three out of the four sanitation napkin making units have been closed down due to the unaffordable cost of the raw materials. The officer concerned, however, stated that a new scheme would be introduced for giving employment to the women from the villages who were earlier engaged in their work at the units.
Notably, the much-hyped initiative launched by the state government to give employment to the women living in the villages and also to make sanitary napkins and to sell them in the remote areas of the state has failed to produce the desired result. The sanitary napkin making units had been started last year in four districts Bageshwar, Udham Singh Nagar, New Tehri and Nainital. While they have been closed down in the first three districts the unit is functioning in Nainital district.
As per the information received from sources, the total cost of setting up the units was estimated to be around Rs 26 lakh. The main reason for closing down the units was the spiralling cost of the raw materials required. According to the sources, the market cost of the sanitary napkins being made in the units was Rs 3.50 which was more than the rate of napkin readily available in the market. The raw materials used to be transported from Delhi and Mumbai, resulting in the surge in the transport cost. Things came to such a pass that the women working in these units were not able to make a good profit.
It is also pertinent to mention here that the Government E-Marketplace (GeM) offers sanitary napkins at a much lower rate. A sanitary napkin costs Rs 2.
The factors indicate that before the units were set up the research on the factors like the cost of the raw materials, market cost of the product and profit made by the employees in each unit were not properly calculated. When the units got a go last year they reached the stage of being shut down in just six to seven months.
Queried over the matter, the minister of state for women and child development Rekha Arya said, “The units have been closed because of the high prices of the raw materials required for producing the sanitary napkins. However, the women who were working in these units will get employment again. We are trying to start a small unit in which women from these village areas would be given training to make bags from clothes. The work is still in the initial phase. We are trying to make sure that the prices of such bags to be produced are attractive to the customers. We are sure that the sale of such bags would help the women engaged in their making earn a good profit. ”
She further said that the government has decided to distribute sanitary napkins among the school girls living in the urban areas of the state free. “This is meant to make the girls aware of the importance of hygiene. We are also initiating schemes with the same objective for the remote villages of the state. This would start off very soon,” the minister said.
Wednesday, 13 March 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
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