Single men in this small Rajasthan town are finding it difficult to end their bachelorhood, as not many families are prepared to marry their daughters to men from a place known for heavy fluoride content in its water.
Many residents of Dudu, about 60 km from here, and surrounding villages are affected by various orthopaedic problems due to the excessive fluoride in the water.
“I have two sons of marriageable age but all my efforts to find brides for them have failed due to the water problem,” Ramji Lal Jat, a Dudu resident, told IANS.
“Even the local people want to marry their daughters in other parts of Rajasthan,” he said.
Hariram Singh, a taxi driver from Boraj, a village close to state capital Jaipur, said no one wanted to knowingly put their daughters in trouble by marrying them to men from Dudu.
“I rejected a proposal for my daughter from a family living near Dudu as I would not like my daughter to live there even for a short while,” he remarked.
Ramji Lal Jat said people might have to shift out of the region if the situation did not improve. That option, however, is not easy for long-time residents of Dudu.
“I have been here for the last 55 years. I cannot leave the place as all my fields and houses are here. The only thing we can do is to wait for slow death from drinking the fluoride-contaminated water,” said Shankar Chaudhary, another resident of a village near Dudu.
Babulal Nagar, the legislator from Dudu, acknowledged the problem. “Drinking water in the area is contaminated. The situation has become graver as people are not ready to marry their daughters in our area.
“If this continues, the day is not far when the town will be erased from Rajasthan’s map.”
Nagar, who belongs to the opposition Congress party, blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the problem.
He said while the former Congress government had cleared a project in September 2003 to supply uncontaminated drinking water from Bilaspur dam to Dudu and nearby villages, the BJP government had not pursued the project.