AUTHORITIES have started inspecting garment factories and spinning mills after an investigation found women workers were given unlabelled pills for period pain to ensure productivity targets were met.

More than half of the 100 women interviewed in Tamil Nadu’s multibillion-dollar garment establishment said they suffered health problems, ranging from depression and anxiety to urinary tract infections, fibroids and miscarriages.

This is according to an investigation by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Inspectors and health officials are checking medicine stocks, toilet facilities and the availability of qualified nurses to administer drugs in factories across Tamil Nadu state, southern India

“Were going to cover all factories,” said Sunil Paliwal, head of the Tamil Nadu labour department.

“We will also be asking factories to set up sanitary-pad dispensing machines and incinerators in toilets to help women workers with their menstrual cycles.”

About 40 000 garment factories and spinning mills across the state employ more than 300 000 women.

Labour rights campaigners have raised concerns that women workers’ lives are being controlled to keep production lines running. – REUTERS