The MNS on Tuesday accused the Maharashtra government of failing to make available sanitary napkins vending machines at higher education institutes in the state.

sanitary pad
Representational picture

MNS general secretary Shalini Thackeray, referring to recent RTI reply to a query filed by activist Nilesh Bhosle, said the reponse has showed that out of all engineering colleges in the state, only two colleges have installed the machines, proving that the government has "miserably failed" to uphold the right and dignity of women.

"Every woman has a right to basic sanitation, which begins in her school or college," she said adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship 'Swachch Bharat' and 'Beti Bachao-Beti Padhhao' campaigns stand futile if women and young girls are deprived of basic healthcare facilities.

According to a directive issued by National Commission for Women in September 2014, it had mandated all schools and colleges to install vending machines for sanitary pads in order to safeguard the health of female students.

An official letter in this regard was issued by the Directorate of Technical Education and subsequently by state Higher and Technical Education department on November 20, 2014 and December 5, 2014, directing all schools and colleges to install sanitary napkin vending machines.

According to the RTI reply furnished by Directorate of Technical Education last month, it showed that only two engineering colleges in the state have installed the vending machines.

The colleges are - Shree Sant Gadge Baba College of engineering in Bhusaval and Vidyavardhini College of engineering and Technology in Thane's Vasai.

Thackeray termed the appraoch of the government as "callous" and said, "I have written to higher education minister Vinod Tawde and women and child development minister Pankaja Munde in this regard. Majority of the girls avoid attending school or college during menstruation, depriving them of their basic right to education."

It is important for the state government to ensure implementation of the directive at all education institutes, she said.