Koraput: It’s a sad reality that when the country is aiming at 5G network by 2022-end there are several pockets in India where basic mobile connectivity is non-existent.
Several reports on poor mobile network connectivity in remote districts of Koraput and Malkangiri grabbed headlines when children walked miles, climbed hills scouting for mobile signals to attend online classes during the pandemic when classes were being held online.
Another classic example of this inequity has come to the fore from Koraput district. The case in point is of a newly elected representative struggling to contact the district Collector from a hamlet. The woman had to scale a hill to get a signal.
We are talking about Sasmita Meleka, the Zilla Parishad president of Koraput. Meleka was on a visit to her ancestral village Kamganda under Bandhugaon block for the first time after getting elected to the crucial post.
According to reports, Meleka was apprised about a couple of issues concerning locals at the village. In an attempt for quick redressal of the matter, Meleka tried to call up Collector Md Abdal Akhtar.
To her and the villagers’ misfortune, the area was deprived of basic mobile connectivity, and her initial efforts went in vain. But the gutsy woman leader was determined to connect with the district authority.
Meleka was aware of the situation and proceeded towards a hill 3 km away. According to her, the hilltop is a vantage point used by the locals to make their mobile phones work.
Finally, Meleka called up the Collector and raised the local issues before him. Top on priority was undoubtedly, mobile towers in the locality.
“We call this as digital age but our village doesn’t have the mobile network. Children of our village are deprived of attending online classes. If someone falls sick in the village or to take a pregnant to hospital for delivery people have to travel 3 km to get the mobile signal for calling an ambulance,” said Meleka.
This mobile network problem is not exclusive to my village alone it’s there in 14 blocks of Koraput district, Meleka added.
“I have discussed it with the Collector. I will apprise CM Naveen Patnaik about it,” she said.
Meleka was elected as a Zilla Parishad member from Bandhugaon block zone II and has been later elected as the Zilla Parishad president.