Nitish begins his 11th yatra, calls for end to evils of child marriage, dowry

Patna: Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar on December 12 said the process of social change that began in the state with liquor ban would be carried forward by abolition of child marriage and dowry.
“Bringing social change is our government’s resolve. We want overall development – both physical and social— and the society needs to be alert towards the evils of liquor, dowry and child marriage,” Kumar said while embarking on his ‘Vikas ki Samiksha Yatra’ from Patilar panchayat, close to Nepal border, in West Champaran district.
Kumar will review the implementation of development schemes during his phasewise yatra, his 11th such tour of the state since coming to power in 2005.
Kumar had started his Vikas Yatra in January 2009 also from Patilar, once known for dacoits gang operating from riverine areas of Burhi Gandak.
Kumar said that a human chain would be formed in support of his campaign to end child marriage and dowry. “We had implemented prohibition in the state last year and launched a massive campaign in its support by forming a human chain on January 21, 2017. I appeal to all of you to join another human chain on January 21, 2018 in support of the drive to end the evils of child marriage and dowry,” he said.
Kumar also reiterated his resolve towards development and said he would be visiting all the 19 villages where he had stayed during his previous yatras and take stock of the implementation of promises made by him.
He also inaugurated, launched and laid foundation of different development projects worth Rs 122 crore for the district.
Nothwithstanding the law, child marriages in Bihar, particularly in rural areas is a reality. With 50% under-age marriages in 340 blocks, as per a study conducted by Gender Alliance, Bihar, the state continues to have a comparatively higher percentage of marriage before girls reach the legally prescribed age of 18 years. This is above the National Family Health Survey-4 study that put the incidence of child marriage at 39.1% in the state.
“The highest probability of child marriage is in Ghoswari block in Patna district with 66.81% while the lowest probability is 11.81% in Lahladpur block of Saran district,” Prashanti Tiwary, head of Gender Alliance, had said while releasing the report in state capital recently.
Bihar ranks second in the country after neighbouring Uttar Pradesh when it comes to dowry-related cases. In 2016, 987 cases of dowry deaths were reported from Bihar as per NCRB data, while the number of dowry-related atrocities was 4,852.

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