Gonda, Dec 1 : The Sonkar Purwa hamlet of Dumriya Deeh village in Uttar Pradesh's Gonda district is populated by 205 people -- 70 men, 55 women and 80 children.
That's pretty common about small hamlets in the country. But what's significant about this hamlet is that 65 per cent of women are widows.
The widows of the hamlet on the Gonda-Ayodhya Highway, 17 km from the district headquarters, blame their fate on the plague of alcoholism.
Most widows claimed their husbands died in their prime due to excessive drinking.
Ram Baksh Sonkar (58), a villager, told IANS, making illicit liquor had been the main livelihood in the area for many years.
Initially, the hooch business fetched attractive returns but soon men started getting addicted to their produce.
Now it had turned into a curse, Sonkar said.
In the past seven-eight years, illicit liquor had claimed life of one person in every three families.
"It has created human tragedy -- the livelihood has started claiming lives," he added.
Around 35-38 people were dying every year due to alcoholism in the village, said Ramesh, another villager.
Left to survive like widows, the village women have been raising their voices against the illegal liquor, but have failed to check it and save dozens of lives every year.
They also claimed that no government came to their support despite several efforts.
Rajkumar Yadav, Dumriya Deeh Panchayat head and a representative of Usha Mishra, said efforts were being made to curb production and sale of illegal liquor in the village.
"We have tried to link the village with development efforts of the administration, but are yet to achieve any success,"
District Magistrate Nitin Basal told IANS, the matter had come to his notice.
"Soon, a team of officials will be sent to the village to investigate it and prepare a solution to prevent more and more women from turning widow."