'Child marriage, polygamy thrive in city'

KATHMANDU: Violating child rights, communities residing in four old settlements of Kathmandu are widely practicing child marriage-an ancient Hindu culture. Polygamy, another ancient custom also holds its sway here, according to a recent study.

A census survey carried out by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has unveiled a shocking reality that child marriage is prevalent among 49.5 per cent of families in four old settlements of the KMC- Tilganga, Purano Dhalko, Ramghat Corridor and Sabal Bahal-all centrally located in the capital city.

Similarly, polygamy is found nearly in 50 percent of the households.

Researcher Kumari Rai at the KMC, said she was shocked when the facts were revealed in course of survey.

"Such a horrible thing is still prevalent in the capital city. This is a clear evidence of low human development and rampant poverty in the country," she added.

According to the study, there are 1,823 households, excluding squatters, in Tilganga (KMC-8), Purano Dhalko (KMC-17), Ramghat Corridor (KMC-19 and 20) and Sabal Bahal (KMC-21).

The total permanent residents in these settlements comprised of 3,788 males and 3,676 females. There are about 1,600 children aged between 5 and 16.

Intensive Study and Research Centre estimated a total population of 899,782 in 35 Wards of KMC in 2008.

The study aimed at finding out the status of poverty and backward communities in a bid to meet the Millennium Development Goal, said Sudarshan Bhattarai, an official at the KMC.

According to Bhattarai, the highest rate of poverty is prevalent in Tilganga while lowest is recorded at Purano Dhalko.

He said that unemployment, followed by illiteracy, lack of awareness and healthcare have forced them to live a harsher life.

Dr Babu Ram Gautam, chief, Public Health and Social Welfare Department, KMC, said it was difficult to change their lifestyle.

Ganesh Rai, acting executive chief at the KMC, said they were committed to upgrade the lifestyle of the people through the campaign—Urban Poverty Reduction Our Concern, a job for a family.

Some facts

• 50 per cent


• 33.4 per cent illiterate

• 279 persons are drug addicts

• 51 per cent without penny in bank

• 35 families sheltered

in huts