Monday, April 09, 2007

Rich villager loses bride to poverty list

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"Below the poverty line" (BPL) is a category in India of people who have low income levels & such people are entitled to get government benefits like subsidies on food etc. Now in Indian society there are many such rich people who enroll themselves illegally in BPL List in government records to get benefits of subsidies being given to poor people.

Here is an interesting story of a Bihar villager who put his family's name on the poverty list despite being quite rich but he could scarcely have imagined that it would cost his son a bride!

That's what happened to Ramnath Singh (name changed), a resident of Bihat village in Begusarai district, about 125 km from here. Until a few days ago, he was a happy man as he was expecting a fat dowry from his son's marriage.

According to villagers, the girl's father Satish Prasad Singh (name changed) had visited the boy's house to hand over dowry in cash a few days ago. He was welcomed with good food and all other comforts.

But then a distant relative informed Satish Prasad that his would-be son-in-law's family figured in the below the poverty line (BPL) list.

'It was shocking for him and he immediately broke off the marriage negotiations,' a villager said.

A nervous Ramnath tried his best to convince Satish Prasad that he was a rich man, far above the poverty list status. He reportedly even confessed that the family had deliberately put its name in the BPL list to get government benefits.

'The groom's father claimed that he owned a multi-storey building, landed property, vehicles and fat deposits in different banks but the girl's father was not ready to believe his words and came back with the dowry,' the villager said.

'The girl's father not only declined to offer the negotiated dowry of Rs.500,000 to the boy's father but also nullified the proposal,' the villager said.

Ramnath felt dejected and admitted that putting the son's name on the poverty list had been a wrong decision. He plans to remove it from the list for future matches for his son, but for now the damage has been done.

The case has once again exposed irregularities in the official list of the poorest of the poor.

In the past it has been reported that ministers, legislators, rich contractors and officials have figured in the BPL list prepared by the Nitish Kumar government.

In the Charpokhri village block in Bhojpur district, about 60 km from here, even the names of 101 dead people have been found in the list.

All this when many landless poor who live in dire poverty are not included.

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