Nearly 8,000 state government employees in Jalaun have pledged a day’s salary each to bear the wedding expenses of the women in UP's Bundelkhand, as marriage worries have lead to people committing suicide in the drought hit region.
This, apparently, is the first attempt where employees and the Jalaun district administration are going to hold the weddings. The State Employees' Joint Council had come up with the idea, discussed it at a meeting and gave an undertaking to the district magistrate about the decision. The district magistrate has agreed to the proposal.
Council president Hargovind Dayal Srivastaval says, "We have 8,000 employees affiliated to the council and all have agreed to donate without any hesitation. This is because all of us in Bundelkhand understand the seriousness of living in a drought hit area and its severe social impact."
The council expects to raise Rs 1.6 lakh. "The per day salary of even the lowest-rung employee comes to Rs 150 per day, while at the higher-end it is over Rs 400." The Jalaun DM has also started mobilising more employees' unions to lend a helping hand to the social cause.
"Teachers get good salaries and are in large numbers here. We are trying to rope them in. We held a meeting on December 27 and hope to generate more funds," says DM Rigzin Samphel.
Prolonged drought in Bundelkhand has led to a matrimony crisis, as people are not in a position to bear wedding expenses. The concern among the people on this count is visible across the region. Marriages are put off year after year in the hope of better times.
Devendra Singh of Sargaon village in Hamirpur district says: "It will be a blessing if the sahibs help the poor get their daughters married. I wish that in our district also such a thing happens. We will be indebted to them for guarding our honour. I am ashamed of the fact that I can't get my daughter, who is already 18, married." In the rural areas of Bundelkhand, even girls of 18 are considered overage for marriage.
Samphel wrote in his letter to Principal Secretary (Social Welfare): "There is a crisis of livelihood. And under such circumstances people are committing suicide as they are worried about marriages of their daughters.”