Vasectomy has always been an unpopular operation in the dacoit-infested Chambal district of Madhya Pradesh, but it enjoyed a brief surge in popularity last year.
More than 250 men put their private parts under the surgeon’s knife through 2008; this, in a place where the male sterilisation figure had never reached double figures in the past 20 years.
They had an incentive: the government, in the form of Shivpuri District Collector Manish Shrivastava, had promised them an arms licence each if they underwent the operation. They did so in family planning camps where forms for gun licences were made available.
All of these men are a disillusioned lot now. Their vas deferens’ have been sacrificed, but the promised gun licences haven’t come.
Bhupendra, a Shivpuri resident and affected party, says, “I underwent vasectomy for the gun licence but the collector is reneging on his promise.” Lalit Gupta, another disgruntled sufferer, says, “I underwent the operation only for the gun licence. The announcement appears to have been a trick.” He wanted the licence because he often has to travel to dangerous places, he says.
DC Shrivastava says the whole thing was his initiative. “They will get arms licences”, he says, adding he’s working on resolving the issue.
The non-issuing of arms licences has created a problem for health department officials in the district.
“Those who underwent the operation are mounting pressure on me for arms licences. What can I do? Ninety per cent of the people visiting the camps got operated for gun licences only,” says a Health department employee, requesting anonymity.
He says no one is ready to come to family planning camps any more. Moreover, “people are calling us cheats”, he says.