A Small Step that Ig­nited a Silent Revo­lu­tion

Airports India - - NEWS - PR Team CHQ, AAI

Ahus­band’s ef­fort to un­der­stand the con­cerns of his newly-wed­ded wife sparked a revo­lu­tion. The re­cent Ak­shay Ku­mar-star­rer ‘Pad Man’ high­lights the story of this revo­lu­tion. It has kick-started the aware­ness drive and a much-needed dis­course on men­strual hy­giene in the coun­try, once again. In­spired from the story of orig­i­nal Pad­man Arunacha­lam Mu­ru­ganan­tham, the in­ven­tor of the low-cost san­i­tary pad­mak­ing ma­chine; the film speaks about his jour­ney in in­no­vat­ing a grass­roots mech­a­nism for gen­er­at­ing aware­ness about tra­di­tional un­hy­gienic prac­tices sur­round­ing men­stru­a­tion in ru­ral India. A school dropout, Mu­ru­ganan­tham started ex­per­i­ment­ing on de­signs of the san­i­tary pads with his wife and sis­ters as test sub­jects. Im­mense hard work cou­pled with trial and er­ror fi­nally led to the mak­ing of an easy-to-op­er­ate low-cost ma­chine.

AAI: A CHANGE AGENT MOULDING PUB­LIC PERCEPTION

Cut back to the first fort­night of Oc­to­ber 2017, in a first of its kind ini­tia­tive, un­der the lead­er­ship of Air­port Direc­tor, Aryama Sanyal, the In­dore Air­port in­stalled San­i­tary Nap­kin Vend­ing Machines in the fe­male re­strooms of the Ar­rival Hall and De­par­ture Se­cu­rity Hold Area. With ac­com­pa­ny­ing in­struc­tions in English and Hindi, a lady at­ten­dant is also po­si­tioned in the area to as­sist women pas­sen­gers op­er­ate the ma­chine. “Since there is no med­i­cal shop near the air­port and it is im­pos­si­ble to move in and out from the Ter­mi­nal Build­ing, we be­gun this ini­tia­tive. Each fa­cil­ity has the ca­pac­ity to stock 25 pads and the money from these machines will be utilised to main­tain the stock,” said Aryama Sanyal.

Airports Author­ity of India (AAI) has been com­mit­ted to the re­spon­si­bil­ity of en­hanc­ing its pas­sen­gers’ travel ex­pe­ri­ence and in pro­vid­ing fa­cil­i­ties for pas­sen­gers’ com­fort and con­ve­nience. The in­stal­la­tion of the san­i­tary nap­kin vend­ing machines at airports in re­al­is­ing an im­mi­nent need for bet­ter women’s fa­cil­i­ta­tion at airports is a tes­ti­mo­nial to the ef­forts taken by AAI in this di­rec­tion. The ready avail­abil­ity of san­i­tary nap­kins at af­ford­able prices in­side the air­port ter­mi­nal build­ings will pro­mote

hy­gienic prac­tices and will also help ad­dress the deep rooted stigma at­tached to men­stru­a­tion.

CUR­RENT STA­TUS

Fol­low­ing suit, other AAI airports at Kolkata, Jaipur, Bhubaneswar, Port Blair, Tri­van­drum, Man­ga­lore, Tiru­pati, Vishakha­p­at­nam, Vado­dara, Au­rangabad, Ra­jkot, Pune, Guwa­hati, Agar­tala, Im­phal, Shimla, Varanasi and Su­rat have also in­stalled the san­i­tary nap­kin vend­ing machines in­side their ter­mi­nal build­ings. These machines are easy to op­er­ate and re­quire only a coin of ru­pee one, five or ten for a pack of three.

This ini­tia­tive has been widely ap­pre­ci­ated by the women pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling through var­i­ous AAI airports. Soon, pas­sen­gers trav­el­ling through other AAI airports will also be able to avail this fa­cil­ity. Few of the airports are even con­tem­plat­ing pro­vi­sions for pro­vid­ing the san­i­tary pads free of cost in col­lab­o­ra­tion with dif­fer­ent Non­govern­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tions (NGOS). Dr. Gu­ruprasasd Mo­ha­p­a­tra, Chair­man, AAI seems con­tent with the ef­forts un­der­taken by the var­i­ous AAI airports in in­stalling san­i­tary nap­kin vend­ing machines. “In­stal­la­tion of san­i­tary nap­kin vend­ing machines is a small step to­wards en­sur­ing com­fort for fe­male air trav­ellers. While we are com­mit­ted to pro­vide a safe and se­cure air travel, we feel it is our re­spon­si­bil­ity to ad­dress ba­sic hy­giene-re­lated needs too,” he said. India wit­nessed ex­cep­tional rise in do­mes­tic air travel and crossed the 100-mil­lion mark for the first time in 2017. As the pas­sen­ger foot­fall in airports in­crease, the du­ties of pub­lic ser­vice providers also de­mand aug­men­ta­tion. AAI be­lieves that this gen­tle step will pave way for more such pas­sen­ger-friendly ini­tia­tives in the fu­ture.

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San­i­tary Nap­kin Vend­ing Ma­chine, Kolkata Air­port

Man­ga­lore Air­port

Aryama Sanyal, Air­port Direc­tor, In­dore - pi­o­neer of the ini­tia­tive

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