Bhubaneswar: The Women and Child Development (W&CD) department has directed all district child protection officers (DCPOs) to sensitise people about protection of child rights by preventing child marriages.
In a letter, W&CD joint secretary Geetanjali Patnaik said that the department has recently received a letter from National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) saying that this year Akshaya Tritiya will be celebrated May 14, 2021. “They have requested us to prevent the occurrence of child marriages on this day and protect the child rights in a proactive manner,” said Patnaik.
The department directed the DCPOs to organise meetings and conferences in compliance with Covid-19 norms at village levels from May 1 to 15 to spread awareness about prevention of child marriages.
The child welfare committees may be kept vigilant during this period.
The DCPOs should utilise funds received under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) and Biju Kanya Ratna (BKR) schemes for this purpose to safeguard rights of the children and submit utilisation certificates to the department.
The NCPCR is a statutory body constituted under the provisions of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 for the protection of child rights and other related matters.
The NCPCR had observed that Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated in various parts of India as a day of good fortune to establish new businesses, new partnerships and new marriages. “Solemnisation of child marriages and mass marriages on a large scale on the auspicious occasion of Akshaya Tritiya has been a common practice in past years. It is a matter of concern that despite strict legal provisions in place, child marriages are being solemnised on Akshaya Tritiya every year,” the apex child rights body observed.
The commission requested the state government to direct all District Magistrates or Collectors, Deputy Inspectors General/SPs, sarpanches, civil society organisations and child marriage prohibition officers and child welfare committee of the respective states/UTs to take proactive steps and preventive measures to stop child marriages.