The first condom vending machine in Delhi’s underground network invites many glances, few takers
At 11 am on a Tuesday, a young woman puts in her token at an Automatic Fare Collection gate at Delhi’s Central Secretariat Metro Station and briskly begins walking towards Exit No. 4. She barely glances at a lone vending machine to her left, but then does a double take. With an incredulous look, she approaches the multi-purpose vending machine installed on April 30 by HLL Lifecare Ltd (HLL) in collaboration with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
On array are goods you would not normally see in a vending machine. Between the water bottles and namkeen packets, and the deodorants and joint pain cream tubes and hair oil bottles, are colorful packets of condoms, for men and women, as well as sanitary napkins and oral contraceptive pills.
In a bid to promote safer sex, HLL, a PSU of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and India’s largest manufacturer of condoms and oral contraceptive pills, associated itself with DMRC for this project and plans to install 25 such machines at 21 metro stations in the national capital.
The machine, covered with advertisements for Moods, featuring happy couples, offers an assortment of condoms — ultra-thin, dotted, coffee, rose-scented, all night and ‘Velvet’ — all of which slide out with the drop of a coin or currency note. A pack of condoms for women costs Rs 100 and contains three pieces. A big pack of Moods costs Rs 78 while a smaller pack is for Rs 10.