File photo: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
Bhubaneswar: Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan Sunday launched 'Ujjwala Sanitary Napkins' initiative saying it will go a long way in making Odisha's 2.25 crore women empowered and self-reliant.
Under the novel initiative, which will cover 93 blocks in 30 districts of Odisha, oil marketing companies (OMC) will set up 100 manufacturing units at the Common Service Centres (CSC) at an estimated cost of Rs 2.94 crore, he said.
The mission, which forms part of CSR initiative of OMCs in Odisha, is aimed to educate women on female hygiene and health, improve accessibility to low cost eco-friendly sanitary pads and boost rural employment and economy.
Pradhan said at least 10 women will be able to get employment at each centre. Four to five of them will be engaged in the process of manufacturing the napkins and the rest for selling the product.
Stating that the initiative would provide gainful employment opportunities to the women, the Union minister said the objective is to ensure that all 2.25 crore women of Odisha achieve economic empowerment and self-reliance.
Emphasising the need to make use of sanitary napkins a mass movement, he said as per National Family Health Survey (NFHS) report, overall use of sanitary napkins in Odisha is 33.5 per cent.
Each facility will have the capacity to produce 1200 to 2000 pads each day and will have a sterilisation room to ensure that the napkins are sterilised before they are packed for consumption of rural women, he said.
The CSCs are also being provided with raw material, enough to make 45,000-50,000 pads. These napkins will be priced at Rs 40 per pack; each pack containing 8 pads. "The project will not only provide the rural women with a dignified means to earn their livelihood but also arm them with entrepreneurial skills," the Petroleum minister said.
It is important to note that the Ujjwala sanitary pads will be made of virgin wood pulp sheet, non-woven white sheet and a gel sheet which are all biodegradable in nature and will leave minimal carbon footprint, giving further impetus to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
The initiative by IOCL, BPCL and HPCL will help change the way rural Odisha perceives menstrual health, achieving the twin objective of improving women's health and encouraging basic hygiene practices, said an official.