Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 1:
A whopping 8246 girls have gone missing in Odisha during 2009-13 period. The cops are clueless on 64% of these mystery disappearances of girls. Worse still, the number of cases of disappearance is on a sharp rise year on year.
Overall 11,552 minors have gone missing in Odisha during this period out of which the cops have managed to trace only 2972.
These were some of the scary and shocking numbers presented by the CAG audit report yesterday which makes one wonder if there is Rule of Law in the state at all.
While 910 minor girls went missing in 2009, the incidents of mystery disappearances went on increasing year on year barring 2013. It stood at 1212 in 2010, 1517 in 2011, 2601 in 2012 and 2006 in 2013. While the cops failed to rescue 83 percent of them in 2009, it failed to rescue 84 percent in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, they managed to rescue 34 percent of the disappeared kids and a decent 74% in 2013.
The CAG has siad efforts of the government in rescuing these kids are not at all encouraging even though it appreciated the government efforts to set up children protection societies at district and state level.
The CAG report further shows the lack of interest of the government in implementing the laws intended at welfare of girl child as minor girls were married off in 4.4% of the total marriages in the state in the past two years even though the state has a Prohibition of Child Marriage Act -2006.
This is also evident from the ever dropping girl child ratio among 0-6 year children in the state. While there were 953 girls to 1000 boys in the 2001 census, it came down to 941 in 2011.
The ratio is at its worst in Nayagarh district, where it has come down to 855 in 2011 from its 2001 average of 904. In Dhenkanal, the numbers have come down from 925 to 877 and in Angul it has come down from 937 to 889 during the above period.
The state government has clearly not done enough to tame female foeticide in the state. They have not stopped the illegal ultra sound clinics even though they didn’t renew their license even 796 days after the expiry of original license. Very few raids were undertaken and very little seizures were made. Most hospitals carrying out female foeticide went scot-free leading to these drastic figures.
As per the report, the government has been negligent on girl child nutrition as well. 3,75,000 girls children under the age of six are yet to be enrolled in schemes meant for nutrition.
As if that was not enough, lower quality food has been served to them in full knowledge. 3183 quintals of Satu provided by 21 self-help groups (SHGs) within 2012-14 was found to be of inferior quality and adulterated, but it still was distributed among 82,856 children.
The Kishori Shakti Yojana and Sabala Yojana have also been disasters in the state. While the Union Government provided Rs 15.43 crores in past four years to rope in 34.74 lakh kids under the nutrition programme Sabala Yojana, 39 percent of this fund went back unutilized.
The state also lags behind in girl child education as compared to boys with the dropout rate significantly higher in the case of the former. Out of 17.8 lakh girls who took admission in 2009-10 , 3.58 lakh dropped out after class-V. Out of 13,02,000 who took admission in class-VIII, 58000 dropped out by class-IX. Out of 11.91 Lakh of class-IX, 1.14 lkah were missing by class-X.
The state government; however, preferred to sit over all of these and did nothing to ensure their nutrition, education or safety, the CAG report said.