Topon Gogoi
Assam Minister of Power Topon Kumar Gogoi speaking at the inaugural ceremony of ONGC’s CSR Project 'Sakhi - a ray of hope' in Sivasagar. Image - Northeast Now

Assam Minister of Power and PWD (MoS) Topon Kumar Gogoi launched ONGC’s CSR Project ‘Sakhi – a ray of hope’ at Yuva Dol in Sivasagar on Tuesday in presence of Jorhat MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Sivasagar Deputy Commissioner Pallav Gopal Jha and Executive Director, ONGC, Assam Asset SS D Maske.

The project is fully funded by ONGC under CSR and aimed to foster better and scientific menstrual hygiene management for girl students, stated an ONGC, Assam Asset, Nazira press communique.

The project is being implemented by District Administration, Sivasagar, UNICEF and ONGC.

In the first phase, ‘Sakhi’ has been launched across 13 Government girls high schools of Sivasagar district, Sivasagar Girls College and four Co-education Institutions, directly benefitting about 7000 girl students.

Under the project, sanitary napkin vending machines and Incinerators to dispose used napkins in a hygienic manner are being installed in these institutions.

While launching the project, Minister Topon Kumar Gogoi thanked ONGC for its endeavour and support for the welfare of the people of Assam. He appreciated the efforts of ONGC, Sivasagar Dist. Administration and UNICEF for conceiving the project on menstrual hygiene of girls, stating that Sivasagar can now be reckoned as the pioneer in this regard in Assam.

As part of the launch, SD Maske inaugurated the sanitary napkin vending machine at Sivasagar Girls College. The project would also ensure formation of WASH Groups in all these schools and college with a nodal teacher for managing the vending machines and disseminate good habits of safe and hygienic disposal practices, removal of taboo and other sanitation issues.

Maske stated that ONGC had initiated the Sakhi Project with Sivasagar district administration as female health is at the core of a family’s health and well-being. “Installation of vending machines will also address the issue of accessibility and affordability of sanitary napkins for girls, especially from economically underprivileged families,” he said.

He also urged each and every girl child to be a ‘Sakhi’ for the other girl child to create further awareness.

Pallav Gopal Jha thanked ONGC for supporting such a noble cause stating that menstrual hygiene management is a very crucial area and this is a step towards addressing the issue involving various stakeholders.

Appreciating ONGC for coming forward with the idea the Deputy Commissioner said that the district administration aims to work with ONGC, UNICEF and other stakeholders to reach out to a large number of girl children creating more awareness on menstrual hygiene.

CFO, UNICEF, Tushar Rane, principal, Sivasagar Commerce College and president, Sivasagar Press Club, Dr. Saumar Jyoti Mahanta, renowned gynecologist Arun Madhab Baruah, principal, Bir Lachit College, Dipali Neog, Sarat Hazarika, Education Secretary, AASU, officials from the State Government, senior executives of ONGC, representatives of schools colleges, socio-cultural organisations, NGOs, volunteers of District Child & Adolescent Cell (DCAC) & WASH Group and other Dignitaries attended the meet.

CFO, UNICEF, Tushar Rane remarked that this was the first time in Northeast and probably first time in India that such an ambitious project was being implemented.

Smita Bhattacharyya

Smita Bhattacharyya is Northeast Now Correspondent in Jorhat. She can be reached at: triptyaddy@gmail.com

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