A senior leader of the ABVP and DUSU Secretary Mahamedhaa Nagar accuses DUSU Vice-President and member of the NSUI Kunal Sehrawat of stealing credit in what appears to be a tussle over the installation of sanitary napkin vending machines in DU colleges.

In a recent move by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and National Student’s Union of India(NSUI)-led Delhi University Student’s Union (DUSU), 56 colleges of the University of Delhi (DU) have received sanitary napkin vending machines. Each of these machines can store up to 25 napkins and can be accessed by the students.

The journey of installing these machines in all of these colleges began on the 22nd of January 2018 when Mahamedhaa Nagar, Secretary of DUSU, had organised a women’s marathon in association with the Sky Touch Foundation. The aim of the marathon was to question the tax imposed on sanitary napkins and the stigma surrounding menstruation. The marathon was flagged off by Akshay Kumar who was invited as the Chief Guest of the event. He was there to promote his movie ‘PadMan’ which spoke on the same issue. On the same day, Mahamedhaa had made the announcement of setting up sanitary napkin vending machines in all colleges affiliated to DU. Akshay Kumar and the two ABVP members occupying the DUSU had also launched 10 sanitary napkin vending machines on the same day.

Mahamedhaa wrote a letter to the Vice Chancellor of DU on the 15th of January 2018 regarding her announcement. He had welcomed the move and had also circulated the letter to all DU college Principals to take necessary steps.

Mahameda Nagar's Letter

Image Credits: Mahamedhaa Nagar, Secretary of DUSU

But, in a recent letter signed by the Assistant Registrar of DU, DUSU’s Vice President Kunal Sehrawat has also been given permission to set up sanitary napkin vending machines in the premises of WUS Health Centre and the Utility Centre, both of which are situated in the North Campus of DU.

Kunal's Letter

Image Credits: Kunal Sehrawat, Vice President of DUSU

In a conversation with DU Beat, Sehrawat said, “As per the research and data procured, we have found that 60% of the total students across DU are females. Also, 15 colleges are solely for girls. In addition to that, we also have females including teachers and administration staff. Our main aim of launching and installing sanitary napkin vending machines are affordability, to eradicate social taboo associated with it, easy accessibility and spreading awareness among the youth.”

To resolve this confusion, DU Beat contacted Mahamedhaa Nagar. She informed the DU Beat correspondent that she had written a letter to the VC for the installation of the machines in DU colleges in January. The VC had replied back in March by welcoming the initiative. However, by then, she had already contacted the Principals of various DU colleges and installed the sanitary napkin vending machines in 20 to 25 colleges. Nagar also informed that they have offered a year’s free maintenance of the machines installed in the DU colleges. She mentioned, “Before starting the process of installation, I did a small survey. I approached the Principals of different colleges and asked what features they are looking for in a sanitary napkin vending machine. I found, for instance, that Hindu College already had a vending machine, but the problem was the quality of sanitary napkins the machine provided.” She had also sent out a proposal to the Ministry of Women and Child Development to help her with the setting up of machines. The CSR Research Foundation had helped Mahamedhaa in getting the sponsors for the sanitary napkin vending machines. By now she has installed such machines in 56 colleges and 8 schools.

When Kunal Sehrawat was asked to comment on the same, he said, “Who gets the credit really doesn’t matter to me. All that matters is that some work should happen for a noble cause. The students and the society should benefit from the same.”


Feature Image Credits: The Hindustan Times

Anoushka Sharma

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