Pardeep (25), the popular sarpanch of Barhana, is a reluctant bachelor. The resident of a state that has the country’s worst stats in sex ratio with 830 women per 1,000 men — Jhajjar is its worst district at 774 — he is finding it difficult to find a girl to marry. Barhana is Jhajjar’s worst case — in 2010, there were 203 births — 148 boys and 55 girls so the sex ratio of this village with a population of 8,890 is 378.
The reason for not being able to find a bride is because there is less land left in the village, says Pardeep. Bhaarat Singh (53), Chief Medical Officer, Jhajjar, has his reasons for the sex ratio skew: a) The 2003 amendment of PNDT Act, 1994, that allowed mobile ultra-sound clinics making it easier for sex determination b) PNDT Act not being under CrPC makes it easy for guilty doctors to get away c) Governmental promotion of ‘small family’ that encourages people to go for sterilisation if the first-born is a son.
BS Dahiya, former director general of health services of the state, who takes the credit for booking the first case under PNDT Act, says, “it’s all happening because it is a R 10,000-crore business.”
CMO, Jhajjar, also cites regional machismo as the reason for the decrease in girl children. “Because it is dominated by the martial races, there is the tendency to have more sons.”
The imbalance in sex ratio has triggered many social and cultural problems. Brides are being brought from other states but many run away. The crime rate has gone up too. “There have been 2 to 3 rape cases per month,” says Singh. The increasing crime in turn is “discouraging” them from having a girl child many claimed during the interview.