Boinda: At a time when emphasis is developing ‘Digital India’, a total of 17 villages in Kishorenagar block of Angul district are without mobile connectivity. Most of the villages are just 15 kilometres away from NH-55. Yet there is no proper mobile network, villagers complained.
These 17 villages belong to three panchayats in the district – namely Handapa, Kanteikolia and Jambunali. Residents of these 17 villages suffer a lot as without proper mobile connectivity, they do not get any information about government-run schemes and programmes. Hence they lose out on benefits.
Most of these villages are located in hilly areas and the residents work as daily labourers. They fail to keep a tab on their bank accounts because of network issues. On many occasions they travel close to 30 kilometres to the bank in Boinda to withdraw money but return empty-handed. This is because they do not get regular updates on their mobiles regarding deposit of money.
Similar is the case for the villagers in getting their rations. It has to be obtained by linking the Aadhaar card to the distribution centres. However, on most occasions that does not happen due to lack of connectivity.
Youngsters in these 17 villagers also suffer as they fail to attend online classes due to poor network. Locals said that there are many intelligent students in the villages. However, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, their studies have suffered as they have failed to attend online classes on a regular basis.
Similar is the case for medical emergency. When such a situation develops, the villagers fail to contact hospitals and ambulance centres. Residents also complained that Maoists have become rampant in the locality as they know they can move without fear as there is no one to track their movements.
Residents of villages under Jambunali panchayat have been demanding a mobile tower for a long time. They have submitted letters to officials of the district administration on this issue. They have also written to the Telecom Ministry as well as Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in May 2017 and June 25, 2019 respectively. However, there has been no response till date. Locals have urged the district administration to provide an immediate solution to their problems.
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