KOZHIKODE: The efforts are sincere enough to make the weddings memorable for girls and, more importantly, ensure that they lead a happy life ever after. That the state government is doing it is yet another proof of the care Kerala has been giving its women. The Mahila Mandirams (government-run homes for women) in 12 districts and the Aftercare homes in Kozhikode and Kollam are winning applause, having helped 29 girls get married in the last two years and enjoy conjugal bliss.
And that they are conducting HIV and potency tests of the grooms goes on to show how meticulous the government homes are in securing the girls’ future. The Mahila Mandiram and Aftercare have laid down a set of stringent rules for the groom to follow if he wishes to approach them seeking alliance with a girl.
“The groom’s social, educational and financial status will be probed by the grama panchayat president, members or others concerned. The groom will be asked to undergo medical test,” said Malappuram Probation Officer Sameer Machingal.
State government homes help conduct wedding in grand manner
The wedding will be conducted in a grand manner, attended by the local MLA, district collector and other dignitaries, with the government spending Rs 1 lakh each for every bride. Post marriage, the connect with in-laws starts. A report is collected every three months. The couples must also attend the annual Snehasangamam (get-together). It’s like a homecoming for the girls.
“A girl we had married off is pregnant now and we went to her house and presented sweets to her. Her delivery is due on October 17 and we’re enthusiastically waiting for the baby’s arrival,” said Sheeja KK, an employee at Mahila Mandiram in Malappuram.
Pathanamthitta unit’s superintendent Priya Chandrasekharan Nair said they deposited Rs 1 lakh each in the bank accounts of two girls, whose wedding was held last month.“We had collected Rs 3.5 lakh at the time of wedding through sponsorship. Five sovereigns of gold were given to each bride. Further, they would be given preference when job positions like anganwadi helper become vacant,” she said.
Women and Child Development Department Director TV Anupama said the government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring the safety and protection of the girls.“If a married girl doesn’t turn up at the annual get-together, it should definitely be inquired. The government is their guardian and we ensure all arrangements are put in place like a biological parent does,” she said.