Report by Amarnath Parida; Jagatsinghpur: This dry and heat summers are bitter and cruelest months for bachelors in coastal villages of Erasama and Balikuda blocks of Jagatsinghpur district - non-availability of drinking water has meant no brides. Unwillingness of parents not to marry their daughter to the unmarried boys in acute scarcity coastal villages of Erasama and Balikuda has worsened the situation causing rise of rate of unmarried boys in these areas.
The increasing number of young and middle-aged unmarried men of coastal villages of Erasama and Balikuda, water scarcity villages in Jagtsinghpur district are finally hopeful of tying the knot this year. But their dreams have completely shattered due to collapse of marriage negotiation between the bride and bridegroom while many parents are unwilling to give their daughters to unmarried boys due to water scarcity.
The villages Marichpur, Kusupur, Bandar, Anantpur, Naharana, Dasbatia, Tertang, Olavar, Allikana, Dua, Ambasala, Apandara, Titira, Nenedra, Nanadabedi,Amarpal of Balikuda block and Bhajakhia, Patuua, Suakunda, Ghasua, Patharkanda, Salio, Saharkanda, Kadalibari and Belari of Erasama block are suffering from acute water crisis. The poor flow of water in the rivers, tributaries, and the drying ponds have added more to the woes of the residents in these areas.
These villages which had been covered under pipe water scheme are also reeling with water scarcity due to non-functional this scheme and hand pump in which women folk have to travel up to 3 to 5 kms to fetch water for their drinking and One retired primary school teacher Mr Banamali Mohanty hailing from Dua village said ‘hundreds of young boys between the age group 30 to 35 of these villages are still unmarried because of the water problem. Many marriage proposals and negotiations have been cancelled after hearing water crisis issue so the rate of unmarried boys will be increased unless drinking water problem would not be solved’- he added.
Dozens of old men here are unmarried too because of this reason. 'Water scarcity is to be blamed for their unmarried status,' affirmed other villagers.
The middle-aged unmarried men as well as their parents in these villages were cheerfully looking forward to marriage negotiations from families of prospective brides as the marriage season begins from April. On several occasions in the last few years, marriage negotiations had failed to mature due to shortage of drinking water that discouraged girls' families from marrying off their daughters to men of these villages.
'No girl's father was ready to give his daughter to a boy from these villages due to the water problem,' agreed Bhagban Dash, a village priest. Dash's own family reflects this social reality. Three of his five brothers are unmarried.
Junior Engineer, RWSS, Balikuda Mr Niranjan Nandi has confessed about acute shortage of drinking water so department has been pressed four tankers to mitigate the water problem in these coastal villages.
Interestingly, dozens of unmarried men in Naharana and Dasbatia villages, Surendra Swain and his friend Shyam sundar Sahu, both in their late 30s, are happy as never before because of finalization of their marriage after installation of pipe water scheme. 'We are sure that now girls' families will turn up at our village in search of grooms after functional of water pipe scheme in these villages.