A major step towards protecting Girl children, the Odisha government has ordered all the district collectors to take appropriate action so that the state will be child marriage-free by 2030. The state has already started its work as till date 12 villages in Sonepur district, 10 in Boudh, 2 in Nayagarh and 1 in Deogarh have been declared child marriage-free areas. Not a single child marriage has been reported in these areas for the past two years.
“As per a recent survey by the Sonepur district administration, UNICEF and ActionAid, not a single marriage has taken place in 12 villages of the district in the past two years. That is why we have declared these villages child marriage-free areas on Children’s Day this year,” said Sonepur Collector Manisha Banerjee. “Awareness among the parents should be created to fulfill this aim. The district administration is organising many programmes to create awareness among the people,” she added.
On November 14, Chandrapur, Kusumjuli, Kanakpur, Nuapada, Sana Butupali, Marading, Lunibahal, Deuli, Subarnapali and Suliya villages in Boudh district and Udaypur and Salapada villages in Nayagarh district were declared child marriage-free areas. The district administrations are involved in executing many plans including competitions regarding education to create interest among students. The district administrations have also stopped several child marriages in different villages of Odisha during the COVID-19 pandemic, ActionAid’s National Manager for Prohibition of Child Marriage, Ghashiram Panda, said.