Berhampur: The Ganjam district administration in Odisha has formed a forum of adolescent girls, who have stopped their marriages before 18 years of age, to create awareness against the social evil, an official said Saturday.
The administration has recently felicitated 30 girls who had stopped child marriages at a meeting held at Chhatrapur, he said.
Members of the Balya Bibaha Pratiriadh Manch (Child Marriage Prevention Forum) will be engaged to make people aware of how they stopped their illegal marriages before 18 years of age, District Collector Vijay Amruta Kulange said.
The district administration had earlier launched ‘Nirbhaya Kadhi, an innovative programme, to prevent child marriage.
Under the initiative, awareness programmes are held in villages, where Anganwadi workers and accredited social health activists (ASHAs) educate adolescent girls against child marriage on the third Saturday of every month.
Meanwhile, the authorities have decided to hike cash reward from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 for informers who provide information about child marriage to the administration.
“We will take action against priests found to have solemnised child marriage,” the collector said.
In the first 10 months of this year, the district administration has successfully prevented 183 child marriages as against 228 in 2020.