From now on villagers of Lohawat gram panchayat in Kota district will celebrate every girl childs birth with sweets and drum beats,plant a fruit-bearing tree and honour the family on Independence and Republic Days. This is one way the villagers have decided to tackle dipping sex ratio. On Sunday,people of four villages,anganwadi workers and nursing staff pledged to root out female foeticide and infanticide.
While the sex ratio in Kota is 910 girls for every 1,000 boys,Lohawat,with a population of 4,500,has only 890 girls for every 1,000 boys. We have old men who could not get married because their families failed to find a girl. In many cases,families had to go to Maharashtra to find a match and pay up to Rs 1 lakh for a bride. Despite that some of them were cheated as the girl,after marriage,would go back home on the pretext of visiting her family and never return, said Rafiq Pathan,sarpanch of the gram panchayat.
Pathan says he was inspired from Budhania village in Jhunjhunu district that turned around the sex ratio in the last two years with a slew of steps to protect girl child. We have decided that just like after the birth of a boy the Rajasthani tradition of thaali bajana (beating a utensil to break the good news) is followed,the same will be practised for the girl child, Pathan said.
A voluntary committee has been formed to keep a close watch on women who conceive. Punitive measures will be taken against those who abort a child or seek a sex determination test.
Nurses and anganwadi workers will maintain a record of every woman who conceives and give the committee reports at regular intervals. If an expecting mother is anaemic we will call for her husband or father-in-law and ensure she gets better nutrition. If the family is poor,we will ensure they get all the schemes offered by the state government, Pathan said.
Randhir Singh,sarpanch of Budhania gram panchayat said,We had started a similar experiment in our village and it has worked wonders. Not only has the sex ratio improved but this has gone a long way in improving the status of women. Having a girl child is no longer a taboo.