Berhampur, October 21 (LocalWire): Ganjam district administration along with activists from Childline managed to stop a 16-year old from getting married at Rugumu in Dharakote block recently.
Acting on a tip-off about the child marriage, they rushed to the village and stopped the marriage of the girl with a 22-year old youth.
“After we convinced them, the groom and his parents agreed and gave an undertaking to marry the girl after she attains 18 years,” the block child protection officer Saroj Bala Acharya said.
Later the girl was produced in the district child welfare committee (CWC) and sent to the childcare institute here, she said.
Child marriage has emerged as a major challenge for the district administration despite several programmes to create awareness against it and to empower the girl child.
“With this, as many as 38 child marriage cases have been reported in the district since January this year,” Childline director Ganjam Sudhir Sabat said, adding that in 2018 and 2017 they had received 23 and 32 such reports, respectively.
However, contradicting Sabat, the district child protection officer Subodh Sarangi said that they had the report of only 25 such cases during 2019.
Sabat, who is also a child right activist, said the child marriages are arranged by families from low-income groups, for girls aged 15-17 years.
“With the increasing instances of violence against girl children, parents think it is safe to get their daughters married off early,” Sabat stated.
To deal with the situation, the district administration has launched an initiative ‘Nirvaya Kadhi’ to prevent child marriage in the district.
Under the programme, a discussion is held every week at the panchayat and block level about prevention of child marriage in their respective areas, Sarangi stated.