Bhubaneswar: A state level convention on combating child marriage was organised by Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (OSCPCR) in collaboration with Save the Children at Idcol auditorium here Wednesday.
Minister of Women and Child Development Prafulla Samal who presided over the event said though child marriage is illegal in India still it is a prevailing practice in many interior areas of the country. “Due to lack of awareness, this age-old evil tradition has still survived in some areas and it is through awareness only that we can put a stop to this menace,” he added. He hoped that the state would be a “zero child marriage state by 2020.” Samal informed that to achieve the objective; he has requested the commission and Save the Children campaign to take specific actions and strategies. Further, he assured of governmental action to ward off the evil practice.
Chairperson of Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Sandhyabati Pradhan, stressed on the “need for a collective effort” to combat against child marriage practice.
“The panchayat raj institution (PRI) members and every other front-line worker at village-level needs to be sensitised. The commission is on a mission mode and ready to take important actions to eradicate this evil,” she added. Pradhan also invited the NGO partners in the respective districts to be part of the movement.
Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Kumar Patasani in his key note address termed child marriage as a “social evil”. “Children are deprived of their childhood when they get married at a tender age. As a result, not only their future is hampered but also our nation’s future gets doomed,” he pointed out.
Teenagers Juel Pal, Subasmita Das and Dharitri Pradhan were honoured for conducting various awareness programmes on various social issues.
Interacting with Orissa POST, Juel Pal said that for two years she has been conducting such awareness campaigns and till date she has averted eight child marriages. “We make people aware and educate them about various demerits that are faced by girl children due to child marriage,” she added. Juel highlighted that apart from child marriage, she along with many other volunteers have raised their voice against child labour and domestic violence. “We conduct street plays and several other programmes as a part of awareness drive,” she concluded.