Grooms seek generators as dowry
Patna: Families of prospective grooms in power-starved Bihar are seeking generator sets as dowry in the marriage season as the entire state has been reeling from the effects of severe power cuts this summer.
The heat wave has made life miserable in this hot and humid summer.
In the past few days, temperature has shot up to 45° Celsius, forcing the state government to close all schools across Bihar from Monday.
Government-run schools in the state were supposed to close for the holidays after May 20 but the scorching heat forced the authorities to announce early closure of all schools across the state to ensure children do not suffer.
Reports in the local media said the continuing power crisis across the state has become so acute that families of grooms are seeking generator sets as dowry to ensure their ceiling fans or desert coolers function and their houses remain illuminated. In many cases, brides have refused to marry boys from rural areas, complaining there is no electricity there.
Siddheswar Prasad of Gaya in south Bihar felt the heat when the marriage he had fixed after much effort with a youth of Masaurhi block in rural Patna was rejected by his stubborn daughter.
Her grouse was that she could not live in her in-law's house when there was hardly two to three hours of power in the rural area. Reports said the would-be groom, Sanjay Kumar, tried hard to persuade the girl to change her mind but to no avail.
Chitranjan Sah of Mithapur locality in Patna is facing a similar situation. He is searching for a groom for his daughter in Patna area as his daughter does not want to stay outside the state capital, where the power is abundantly available as compared to rural areas.
The power situation has worsened in Bihar in the last two months since summer began.
Currently, the state is getting just 700 to 900 MW of power against its daily requirement of 2,200 to 2,500 MW, leaving the whole state engulfed in virtual darkness and leading to severe protests across the state.
What has further rubbed salt into the wounds of the residents is that the coolers and inverters are not available in the markets, and are being sold at exorbitant prices in the black market.
"For the last one week, I'm making the rounds of local shops to buy a desert cooler. I have been told that they are out of stock now," Suresh Prasad, a resident of Raja Bazar in Patna, said.
The prices of air conditioners, too, have alarmingly shot up, thanks to the increase in their sale volumes.
"The sale [of air conditioners] had been steady till April but this month, it has increased unexpectedly," said Vibhash Kumar, a sales executive with the Whirlpool in Patna.
Reports said on an average, the prices of air conditioners have risen by Rs2,500 (Dh201).