After his would-be bride eloped with her boyfriend with the marriage procession only 50 metre away from her house, a 26-year-old youth was in for a bigger surprise.
The State government last year had launched a Strategy Action Plan to end the practice in all the districts.
While the minor girl belongs to Dimiripatna village under Nayagarh, the 25-year-old youth hails from Lokeswarpur village in Khurda district.
Covid 19 has provided a perfect breeding ground for the social evil to flourish in remote villages, they said.
Sujata Karthikeyan, Commissioner Mission Shakti, discussed how the strong network of 6 lakh women SHGs can be roped in for social changes towards addressing child marriage.