The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), which guards the Indo-Nepal and the Indo-Bhutan borders of our country, has taken several measures to make working conditions friendly for women personnel. For the first time, women guarding the borders will get private barrack cubicles and sanitary pad dispensers and incinerators.

“We have created some separate living blocks for women troopers in the barracks at their place of posting in the border areas,” Archana Ramasundaram, Director General, SSB, told PTI. She informed that the paramilitary force had been working on these initiatives for about a year; they are now in process of adding these gender-friendly infrastructures across all far-flung frontier areas.  Ramasundaram is the first woman chief of a Central Armed Police Force (CAPF).

In many of the deployment areas, it is difficult to get sanitary pads. At all such locations where women are deployed, sanitary napkin dispensers and incinerators have been installed. These dispensers will be replenished every few weeks, and since sweepers desist from picking up the used sanitary pads, incinerators too have been provided.

In the Indo-Nepal and the Indo-Bhutan border areas, toilets have also been modified to ensure privacy for women, who often work at odd hours due to the nature of their duties. For women troops on combat duties, suitable and body-fit size protectors, bullet-proof vests, helmets, shoes and raincoats have also been ordered. Ramasundaram said that their focus is now to get separate toilets for women at these locations.

“A washing machine has been provided in every unit accommodation of women personnel and pulley-based drying racks have been installed so that the women can easily dry their intimate and other clothing in the barrack area,” Ramasundaram said.

For 70,000-personnel, the paramilitary force has also procured ladders to be fitted in heavy troop carrier vehicles and trucks for easing women personnel’s mobility. She added that the Union Home Ministry was sanctioned special buses with in-built toilets exclusively for women personnel on duty. These will also be introduced soon.