Bhubaneswar, August 17 (LocalWire): Odisha’s Mayurbhanj and Subarnapur districts, hit by the abhorrent practice of child marriage, have drawn up an action plan for addressing the social malaise and save the girl children from the age-old practice.
According to officials of the Women and Child Development (WCD) department and Mission Shakti, both the districts have taken a lead in sensitising people through an orchestrated public campaign to stop child marriage.
“Sincere endeavour on the part of concerned authorities of both the districts have resulted in preventing over 500 such incidents in 2018-19 year,” WCD officials informed.
According to the information shared by the department, as part of the initiative, the block development officers (BDOs) have included child marriage issues as a part of the agenda in the Gram Sabhas.
In Subarnapur a mass campaign was organised involving 41 parade teams and around 1,200 students, police, Scout and Guide volunteers.
All of them pledged to do their bit in stopping child marriage.
As many as 16 districts, including Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabrangpur, Nayagarh, Koraput, Rayagada, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Gajapati, Keonjhar, Balasore, Deogarh, Boudh, Subarnapur, Kandhamal and Angul- have been identified as regions where the evil practice still keeps on raising its ugly head from time to time.
Officials also highlighted that there was an urgent need to draft an inter-sectoral convergent action plan to reduce the number.
This includes the convergence of programmes between departments of education SC and ST Development, WCD, Panchayati Raj, Skill Missions and Sports and Youth, the officials said.
The state government had earlier chalked out an action plan for prevention of child marriage.
The plan had iterated to keep girls in schools, continue their education, and bring back dropout girls to the education system.
It also included plans of enrolling young women into skill development and livelihood programmes.
Poverty, coupled with ignorance of illiterate parents have all contributed to the prevalence of this illegal practice.
Ironically the majority of parents are unaware of the legal provisions of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, which is a cognizable offence.