Thiruvananthapuram: Thiruvananthapuram Corporation has set aside Rs 2 crores for a cloth pad making unit project, which environmentalists have welcomed with gusto. However there has been no study to understand market feasibility, so far.
There is a plan to procure at least three cloth pad manufacturing machines. However, when DC checked with two cloth pad making brands, Ecofemme and Namaskrithi, both said that they had never heard of such a machine. They employ women operating sewing machines, to make the pads. Sewing machines have advantages over mass-manufacturing machines, as one could customise the size of pads, according to Namaskrithi founder Meera Thampan.
The machines cost between Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs, according to officials. There are machines which use wood pulp and plastic, to make disposable pads, in this price range.
Moreover before spending on the machines, it is important to gauge the receptivity of the market, said Vivek N, who had earlier conducted a feasibility study of cloth pad making for a project. “It is essential to find out who will buy cloth napkins, before setting out to buy a mass manufacturing machine. It is a good idea to run a pilot project, and test how many cloth pads get sold,” he says.
The question is whether there is a critical mass willing to shift to cloth napkins. Corporation officials say that during various awareness campaigns, people have been asking about the availability of cloth napkins. “The intention of this project is not making a profit, but popularising an eco-friendly choice. We might eventually decide to buy sewing machines as well. We are finalising the project details. This week it will be whetted by the District Planning Committee,” says an official....