Bhopal: The festival of ‘Akha Teej’ has become an auspicious occasion for majority of girls belonging to weaker sections in Madhya Pradesh, as mass marriages are solemnized across the state under Kanyadan scheme on that day.

Started in year 2006 by the Madhya Pradesh government, so far 1,42,751 girls’ marriages have been solemnized under the ambitious Mukhyamantri Kanyadan scheme. The state government has so far spent a sum of Rs 96 crore on this.

Underlining the significance of the scheme, Panchayat and Rural Development, Social Justice Minister Gopal Bhargava described ‘Kanyadan’ as the biggest feat.

“Kudos to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on whose initiative, the state government had taken up the cause of getting the poor girls married irrespective of class, caste and religion. The ambitious scheme has received huge acclaim as it has saved parents of poor girls from the worries of their marriages,” Bhargava said.

In the year 2006-07, when the scheme was launched merely 834 families were benefited. Next year the strength rose to 32,821, and in 2008-09, it crossed the mark of 43,000, the minister informed.

So far marriages of a total of 32,966 girls from Schedule Caste, 57,921 girls from Schedule Tribes, 39,120 girls belonging to other backward classes and 2,500 girls from minorities have been performed, he said, adding, “On this the government has spent a total amount of Rs 96,8,83500.”

Several girls from Indore, Balaghat and Batool districts were benefitted under the Kanyadan scheme in 2006-07 and 2007-08, maximum beneficiaries were from Gwalior, Badwani and Sihore districts.

In 2008-09 Badwani, Gwalior and Raisen remained on top to solemnize maximum marriages, while in 2009-10 Gwalior, Alirajpur and Sagar districts benefitted most of the poor families. In the previous year of 2010-11, Bhopal, Sagar and Gwalior led the rally for promoting the scheme.