Mobile internet connectivity is changing the life of a Himachal hamlet

The installation of a 4G tower has completely changed the life of a small hilly village of Baag in Himachal Pradesh. Baag, which is located at an elevation of about 1520 feet in Shimla district, now has internet access as well as access to national and international TV channels.

Additionally, local school students are now being exposed to word-level online lessons. Even the local elderly ladies dance to the tunes of trending videos and songs.

It all started with the lockdown in March 2020 when Tejasvi Chauhan, Ph.D. student from IIT Bombay, encountered phone connectivity issues. Being disconnected from the world, he could feel the pain of the inhabitants and also realized the seriousness of the problem.

Chauhan said, “The problem was not limited to his hamlet but also to many other villages in nearby Panchayats who are also facing the same connectivity issues. The children in the neighborhood did not have access to Internet education at the same time. More than a thousand students of all ages were there. Due to a lack of connectivity, the area also had problems with medical emergencies”

Considering the seriousness of the situation, Chahuan started contacting several people. Mobile service providers were hesitant to invest in a new tower because there was already one nearby. “The villages on our side never got a strong signal because there was a gap between them and that range was higher than the tower,” Chauhan told Statesman by phone.

After contacting the Ministry of Communications with the help of Sagar Sharma, an IIT graduate and government agency scientist. He was able to install a tower in his village.

The whole process took him almost 8-9 months and the installation work was completed in 2021. Now the village of Chauhan has reliable 4G access.

After achieving strong connectivity, a primary school teacher, Shanta Chauhan, stationed at Lihat Village, was able to provide her students with an easier and more productive learning experience.

While speaking to the statesman, she said, “After getting mobile reception in the hamlet, we are able to deal with student and school inquiries, on time. Most importantly, students do not miss their online assignments like quizzes, online debates, etc.

According to the 2011 census, out of 5,97,618 inhabited villages, 25,067 have no cellular network. The data however has not been updated since December 2020.

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