Ahmedabad: While Akshay Kumar-starred PadMan rakes in crores at the box office, a sanitary napkin dispenser installed at the Ahmedabad railway station has found few takers in the two weeks since it was installed, with a lack of awareness being cited as the main reason.

Barely five pads have been taken from the machine in the last fortnight, said a railway sanitation worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“Women who come to the waiting room ask about this machine, and some even mistook it for a mineral water dispenser. I have to explain to them that it is a machine that dispenses sanitary napkins,” this person said, adding, “Most women carry their own pads because it is difficult to buy one at the railway station.”

A second worker, sitting beside the dispenser-cum-incinerator, said a couple of women also questioned the quality of the product. “We keep away from the machine mostly because we don’t know how to operate it or open it. We’ve been told that if there is a fault to call the officials and they’ll take care of it,” this person said.

The coin-operated vending machine, which can hold 100 pads at a time, was installed at the Ahmedabad railway station on 26 January. The dispenser was donated by the Western Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation, said Pradeep Sharma, public relations officer for the Ahmedabad division of Western Railway.

“Similar machines have been installed at the DRM (divisional railway manager) office at Naroda and at the Rajkot, Bhavnagar and Vadodara divisions, too. Each machine costs Rs38,000… They (women employees and passengers) simply need to insert a Rs5 coin and press the green button on the machine and it will dispense one napkin,” he said.