‘Menstruation Centre’ in Uttarakhand village built with government funds
The gram panchayat of Champawat’s Ghurchum village in Uttarakhand used government funds to build the room where women stay during menstruation, in the name of building a community centre for women.
Development officer of the gram panchayat, Kaushal Pandey, said the room was set up on the request of villagers. “Due to the stigma attached to menstruation, women would often be sent out of their house during their periods. On many occasions, they would stay in the open, exposed to cold in winters and danger of wild animals. So on the demand of the villagers, the room was set up in 2017,” Pandey said.
Equipped with a cot and a sofa, the room is voluntarily used by the women of the village during their periods, Pandey said. “The room also has a toilet and bathroom attached to it. As women are not allowed to bathe in their houses during periods, they can use the facility here. Women come here of their own accord. Nobody forces them,” Pandey added.
When asked about the funds used for the construction of the room, Pandey said, “We utilised the funds issued by the administration to the gram panchayat.”
The village head Mukesh Joshi said the building is called ‘Mahila Milan Kendra’. “It can be used by village women for various activities and meetings. If they want to use it during their periods, it is their call. However, no one forces them to do so,” Joshi said.
Meanwhile, Champawat’s district magistrate (DM) said a team will be sent to the village for inspection.
“We will be sending a team in a day or two to Ghurchum village to understand the matter. It is clear that the people of the village need to be counselled about menstruation. So the team will also carry out discussions and awareness activities for the villagers,” said Ranbir Singh Chauhan, Champawat DM.
The matter came to light on Monday when the DM received a request from two people of Ghurchum village for the establishment of a ‘menstruation centre’ in their area.
“The request I got stated that there is a menstruation centre set up by the gram panchayat in the village. The applicants wanted another such centre to be set up in a different area of the village. Since no such centres are set up by the administration, I decided to look into the matter,” Chauhan said.