Even as the nation is gripped by election fever, couples in Chhattisgarh are rueing them. For, the model code of conduct for the elections has prohibited hundreds of couples in the state from tying the knot because the marriages are to be solemnised under a state government scheme.
The Chhattisgarh government had launched the Mukhyamantri Kanyadaan Scheme in 2005-06 to solemnise the marriage of girls from families living Below Poverty Line. Financial assistance of Rs 4,000, clothes, utensils and silver ornaments worth Rs 1,000 are also given to the couple.
The state government had made a provision of Rs 2.50 crore in the current fiscal for the scheme and had set a target of about 5,000 couples. But only 1,890 couples could be married till December 2008. The department of women and child welfare could spend only Rs 78.84 lakh -- one-third of the budget.
Since there were no auspicious dates in January and February, many couples were waiting for a good Muhurat in March. But the government-sponsored show has shattered their dreams, because the election code of conduct bars such government schemes for 45 days ahead of the election.
About 1,000 couples were waiting to get married in Bastar alone in the second week of March. "But the district administration postponed the marriages because the model code of conduct came into effect early in the month," Alok Dev, a senior official with the district administration told Business Standard.
The administration had even placed orders for the tents and other requirement to conduct the function. In one such village in Jaitgiri, couples dreaming to live together were disappointed to the extent that they stormed into the office of the child and women development officer when the authorities announced their marriage was on hold.
They were informed that they had to wait for another three months till the code of conduct was lifted.