Sambalpur, May 16 (UNI) Orampara, a small village close to Rengali township, has been slowly turning into a 'village of widows'.
Of the 37 tribal families, as many as 18 have widows, who had lost their husbands at an early age due to consumption of illicit liquor.
Forty-year-old Para Oram had lost her husband Khudia Oram 10 years ago. She has two minor daughters and has to make do with a meagre widow pension and earnings from rolling bidi.
Para is now a much worried woman as she finds it difficult to arrange marriage for her elder daughter who has crossed 15, considered an ideal age for marriage among the tribals.
Another widow, Sukun Oram's story is more pitiable. She has four daughters and two sons. Chandan, one of the sons, had to leave his studies to extend a helping hand to his mother.
Shanti Oram, Saraswati Oram, Samari Oram, Hada Oram and many others, are also caught in the same situation.
Muni Oram, a 16-year-old girl who has had some schooling, said, ''Imane Shabhe Pee Pee Marichhan Babu (all these people die of consuming excessive illicit liquor).'' Knowing the consequences, even the youths of the village have started taking liquor regularly, she remarked.
The country liquor available in the tribal village is prepared clandestinely inside the dense forest and distributed to the villagers through a Mafia.
To make the liquor stronger and toxic, the traders mix some poisonous substances like Urea fertiliser, fruit of thorn apple and Ranu, a chemical produced locally, which act as slow poison when consumed.
UNI XC DP NK RN1512