VIJAYAWADA: Blame it on Covid-19 and curbs that followed leading to the prolonged closure of schools and educational institutions, Krishna district has registered a sharp rise in parents trying to perform marriages of their minor children, which were stopped in time by the authorities.
According to Woman and Child Welfare (W&CW) officials, 51 child marriages were prevented in the district between January and June 15 with the help of NGOs, police and child protection committee. Last year, they stopped 202 child marriages.
District W&CW project director K Uma Rani attributed job loss, and schools remaining shut as the reasons. “Also, fear of safety and good future of children is forcing the parents in low income groups to get their minor children married,” she said.
The officials said child marriages are rampant in Kalidindi, Machilipatnam, Kaikalur, Pedana, Mudinepalli, Pamarru, Challapalle, Movva, Guduru, Nagayalanka, Gantasala, Mopidevi and island villages where a majority of the people in low income groups are daily wagers. “As many lost their jobs, they are afraid of the uncertainty in future and want their daughters to get married as early as possible,” Uma Rani added.
Another reason for the increase in child marriages is the cost factor as the amount spent on weddings have come down due to Covid restrictions. “Some parents are taking advantage of the situation as the official machinery is involved in Covid-19 duty,” she added.
On measures to curb the menace, PD Uma Rani said, “Special teams have been formed with the help of village volunteers, Anganwadi workers and other line department officials to prevent minors from getting married.”