Before you take a wife in Urali-Devachi, a village 25 km from Pune, you have to first swear you’ll desert your parents and leave the village.
It’s not extreme feminism, just common sense.
For 20 years, all of Pune’s garbage has been dumped here. Untreated, unsegregated. Some of it spontaneously catching fire, spreading toxic fumes over the village of 3,000 people.
As 800 tonnes roll in every day — enough to fill 80 trucks — the stench is constant, the water is contaminated and disease are a constant battle. And the bad publicity has caused 25 marriage proposals to fall through in the last two years.
“The women, and their parents, demand the grooms leave immediately after marriage,” said resident Shahaji Pathare (78). “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get good proposals for our boys.”
Villagers wrote to the Pune municipality and district collector, but to no avail. Last month, they decided to act. Twice, they gathered on the road to Urali-Devachi and blocked the garbage trucks.
“Municipal corporation authorities finally promised to dump only segregated waste,” Urali deputy sarpanch Tatya Bhadale said. “But it continues to dump unsegregated trash.”
Local legislator Balasaheb Shivarkar has joined the agitation, demanding the administration look for different sites near the city for the garbage.
For the boys, the solution may come too late. “Many of my friends have already moved to their wives’ villages,” said Rama Shinde (21). “If this isn’t sorted out, we’ll all be forced to leave.”
Acting Pune municipal commissioner M.S. Devnikar said a committee has been formed to sort out the problem.