In an empowering move, Lucknow district administration has decided to deliver free sanitary napkins, soaps and hand sanitizers to women during the ongoing nationwide coronavirus lockdown. The supplies will be delivered to the women at their homes through Sakhi vans, as per reports. The decision after several online portals reportedly refused to be delivered sanitary napkins in the district, stating that it has not been listed as essential items.
While speaking to the media, Lucknow district magistrate Abhishek Prakash said that the authorities learned that women and girls in some areas were unable to get the sanitary napkins during the lockdown. He informed that his team has prepared a route chart of all of those areas and allocated at least 6 vans to provide the women free sanitary napkins, soaps and sanitizers. He also added that the women who were unable to get the napkins and other essential items could call on the helpline number issued by the administration.
According to reports, there have been challenges in conducting home deliveries for essential items across several delivery services due to the shortage of executives. However, sanitary napkins have not been included in the list of essential supplies on most portals; the essential category lists items that include wheat flour, oil, pulses, rice, salt, kitchen spices, etc.
Earlier, amid growing concerns about halting the production and distribution sanitary napkins, the central government had clarified that it is an essential medical item. Union Cabinet Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development, Smriti Irani had clarified in a tweet that the government of India recognises sanitary pads as 'essential commodity'.
Taking note of growing concern regarding availability of Sanitary Napkins, Home Secretary to Government of India has issued clarification to Chief Secretaries of all the states regarding Sanitary Pads being an essential commodity. pic.twitter.com/V2mj4fHjW3— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) March 29, 2020