North Gujarat Town Has Lowest Child Sex Ratio In The Country
Ahmedabad: Mehsana town has notched the shameful distinction of having the lowest child sex ratio among urban centres in India. With only 760 girls per 1,000 boys in the 0-6 year age group, Mehsana has hit the lowest ebb on the gender index, according to just-released Census 2011 figures.
The town, with a population of 1.9 lakh, has 7,753 girls against 10,203 boys in the 0-6 year age group. With a literacy rate of 90% and dominated by influential and affluent Patels, this is a reflection of a strong bias against the girl child in this north Gujarat town. The Census figures are available for towns with more than one lakh population.
Mehsana is the only city from Gujarat that figures on the list having a child sex ratio less than 800. Mehsana is followed by twin cities Sonipat and Bahadurgarh of Haryana that have child sex ratio of 784. In fact, Haryana has
three cities with less than 800 child sex ratio, the third one being Rohtak (793 girls). Agra, in UP, too reflects little love for the girl child – it has only 790 girls per 1,000 boys.
Unfortunately, Mehsana’s national infamy is a continuation of the alarming situation unearthed in 2001, when it was revealed that the district had a low child sex ratio of 801.
While the district has improved its tally in 2011 to 845, the main town continues to languish. Gujarat’s sex ratio has only marginally improved from 883 girls per thousand boys in 2001 to 886 in 2011. Social activists say getting a sex determination test on the sly is easy for most well-off families in north Gujarat where the gender bias is strong.
Mehsana district collector Rajkumar Beniwal says there are 90 registered sonography machines in the town. Of these, seven machines were sealed in the past under Pre-Conception Pre Natal Diagnostics Test Act. Beniwal has been sending letters to each pregnant mother urging them not to discriminate between a boy and a girl and also informing them that sex determination is illegal.
“The Patel community introduced fee waivers for educating the girl child and promoting awareness against sex determination. But the damage done in the past continues to reflect even now. We have to make more efforts to bring a social change,” says Anil Patel, former minister and president of Umiya Mataji Mandir Sansthan, the trust of the local deity revered by Patels.