The rampant child marriages are seen in Vishakapatnam areas in Andhra Pradesh. The awareness campaigns appear to have done little in curbing child marriage incidents in the district as parents continue to marry off their minor children. At a time when child marriages continue unabated, authorities do not even have a database of the number of such cases. As per rough estimates, child marriage cases reported last year was almost double that of 2016 figures, with most incidents being reported in urban belts.

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From May to December 2017, 31 child marriages were thwarted by officials of the District Women and Child Welfare Department as against the 13 in 2016. According to officials, the District Child Protection Unit of Visakhapatnam has stopped 134 child marriages since 2012.

The district administration has formed separate teams for all vulnerable villages, with village revenue officers (VROs) and panchayat secretaries as members and made it mandatory to obtain certificates for marriages. However, allegations are being made that many VROs do not report child marriages fearing backlash. “In small villages, almost every family maintains rapport with the VRO concerned,” said a senior officer of the Women and Child Welfare Department.

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– 134 such marriages thwarted since 2012
– Child marriages rampant in urban pockets of Akkayyapalem, One Town, Pedawaltair and Old Gajuwaka
– Village revenue officers do not report child marriages fearing backlash on basis of caste, religion and social stigma
– District officials do not have a database on child marriages.  #KhabarLive