Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Nayagarh, May 28:
Nayagarh district in Odisha has always been in the news when it comes to issues of gender bias and female foeticide. But the extent of the rot has been brought home in all its frightening detail by a recent report.
According to this report commissioned by the District Child Protection Unit, the sex ratio in as many as 90 villages of the district has fallen below 800 in the 0-6 age group, a key indicator of the overall male female ratio. What it means is there are less than 800 female children in the 0-6 age group.
More worryingly, the ratio in some of these 90 villages has fallen as low as 600 ! At this rate, Nayagarh could soon be competing with districts in distant Haryana for the tag of the place with the worst sex ratio in the country.
At 855: 1000, the female-male sex ratio is already a major concern, especially because no other district in the state has a ratio of less than 900.
Gender bias against the girl child is disturbing in Odisha’s Nayagarh district which is evident from an official report of the government which speaks of the grave decline in the female sex ratio in the (0-6 year age group).
In Singarpur villag,e the female child ratio is abysmally low and stands at 468 reminding one of the media reports of foetuses floating in a well in Nayagarh town in 2007.
While 14 villages under Nayagarh police station limits are among the villages where the situation is grim, six are under Daspalla police station, 16 under Fatehgarh police limits, three under Gania police limits, nine under Khandapada police limits, two under Nuagaon police limits, eight under Odagaon police limits, 11 under Ranapur police limits and the highest of 22 under Sarankul police limits.
While the female child sex ratio is between an abysmal 630 and 650 in Dindabhuin and Dihagaon villages under Daspalla police limits, the ratio in other four villages under the same police limits is only marginally better at between 710 to 800.
Laxmiprasad under Fatehgarh police limits has a female child sex ratio of 523, Bhagabanpur 531, Dhanchangda 634 and Kalatangi has 686. In the remaining 12 villages under the same police limits, sex ratio is between 720 to 800.
Similarly, the ratio in Bijayanagar is 602, 755 in Ostia and 764 in Kishoreprasad – all under Gania police limits.
Female child ratio is 640 at Natugaon under Itamati police limits in Nayagarh block and 681 in Lathipada under the same police limits. In the other four villages undre the police station, it’s between 700 to 800.
Also under Nayagarh Sadar police limits, the ratio stands between 610 to 700 in Khandugaon, Muthagadia, Balugaon, Deuli and Chandibasti. In the three other villages, it varies between 730 to790.
The situation is attributed to socio-religious bias toward sons and proliferation of ultra sound diagnostic clinics which are illegally engaged in sex determination tests of foetuses and medical termination of pregnancies in the event the foetus is found to be that of a girl child.
District Child Protection Officer Pritikant Panda said there is a need for raising awareness levels among the people and deterrent action against those conducting sex determination tests.