Sitamarhi: The strange dowry demand of Shivnagar village under Sitamarhi district can leave even the top brains in a confused state. Rather than raising a demand for car, cash or jewellery, residents of Shivnagar prefer a boat in dowry. The strange dowry demand comes with the simple fact that this village is surrounded by water round the year.

Shivnagar which comes under Runnishayeedpur block is a flood prone area. The water level surrounding the village increases with early rainfall. Hence, boat is the only mode of transportation in the area for most part of the year.

To add more, the only primary school in this village with a population of 1500 is also surrounded by water. The teachers here come once in blue moon; as a result the literacy rate of the village remains merely 20 percent. Making the situation even worse is that the village sans electricity connection.

Residents of Shivnagar village situated in the waterbed of River Bagmati village are dependent on the boats provided by the State government.

Under such an alarming situation, boat has emerged as the top dowry demand for marriage in the village.

Vishwanath Paswan, a resident of the village said, “Even a dead body is taken to the river bank in a boat for cremation.”

When asked about this issue, Disaster Management Department official Mohammad Mirza Arif said, “In view of the difficulties faced by the villagers, government boats have been made available. And in addition to this, a serious thought is being given on other options.”

However, belying the tall claims of the district official, the villagers claimed that only three government boats have been made available to them.