State asks collectors to keep vigil on child marriage

Bhubaneswar: With two days left for the 'Akshya Tritriya', Odisha government asked all the district collectors to keep a vigil to check child marriages which are held in large number on the auspicious occasion.
 
State's women and child development (WCD) department in separate letters directed 30 district collectors to take preventive measures against child marriage.
 
The WCD department also told the collectors to sensitise people on the dangers of child marriages. "Child marriage prohibitory officers should be active on the day," Aswathy S, director of social welfare said in letters to the collectors.
 
The state government's action in this regard followed a letter from National Women Commission chairperson Mamta Sharma's letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Sharma said child marriage in large numbers are held on Akshya Tritiya day in all states including Odisha.
 
Therefore, the NCW urged Patnaik to activate official machinery to check such events taking place on May 13.
 
NCW's concern was based on an Unicef report on State of World's Children-2012 which said about 37 per cent of girls in Odisha marry before the age of 18 while 13 per cent men marry before turning 21 years.