Ground Report | Srinagar: Village with no network; The whole world is connected to each other through the Internet, but there are places where people are still deprived of the Internet revolution.
Kashmir; Village with no network
Manzoor Ahmed Chak, a teacher from Limber village walks 3 km from his village to do his duty. Where after climbing a hill, their smartphone has network connectivity. They go there and upload their daily study plan on the Learning Management System portal of the Education Department of Jammu and Kashmir.
The mobile towers installed by the telecom companies were not working. People from 27 villages living near the Line of Control are yearning for the internet. No mobile is connected. Mobile towers have been installed at some places, but they are not working.
Manzoor Ahmed Chak is accompanied by students of government schools in his area. Those kids wait on their parents’ phones for their classwork to download. But the network is never good enough for online classes. But children try to read-only through some network connectivity so that they can repeat it at home.
Manzoor Ahmed Chak, who has been teaching since 2007, says that the school is closed due to coronavirus. Because of which students often come to my house to take notes. He further says that apart from primary schools there is only one secondary school and three middle schools. After completing 10th class all the students have to move to other cities for college studies.
Living in ‘no man’s land
Abdul Khaliq Khatan, a local resident of Uri’s Zamboor Pattan village, said despair has gripped him as nothing is being done to ease his suffering. “Sometimes it feels like we are living in ‘no man’s land. Nobody cares for us. We repeatedly raised the issue with the local tehsildar and the concerned SDM, but nothing changed on the land, “They said. (Village with no network)
For the children of a village of about 650 houses, the little place where they do their studies is the oasis. Along with studies, they also socialize with each other. Even log in for their online exams from here. (Village with no network)
Limber resident Sajjad Ahmed, who brought his son, says that there are some wild animals in this area as well. Many times brown bears have also been seen here. We cannot send our children here alone. He told that we do not allow him to come here after 6 o’clock in the evening.
As Ahmed, part of the team that conducted the 2011 census in the village, explains that people within the village still visit each other’s homes to communicate with each other. He also pointed out that about 20 percent of the population migrates temporarily every year to provide education to their children. (Kashmir Village with no network)
Cannot compete with the outside world
Rauf Ahmed, 18, who recently passed his class 12th exam, says it takes him 4 days to download a class lecture. 14-year-old Arbeen, who aspires to become an IAS officer, says she has learned to cover her dreams. Because we know that we cannot compete with the outside world. Of course, only connectivity is not an issue for the students. There are other problems with them as well.
Many residents say that they have not even received corona vaccination certificates yet. Local resident Mohammad Hameed Khan says that many people in the village, especially the elderly, have been vaccinated. But no one has been able to get any vaccination certificate till now due to lack of access to the internet.
Tasleem Arif, a civil contractor, said that there is no ATM in the area due to which he has to withdraw one day in a week to go to the ATM. As per records, Limber is one of more than 150 villages in Jammu and Kashmir. It has not yet effectively reached the mobile network.
Asim Ahmed Mir, a shopkeeper by profession said: “Due to this internet blackout, our children who have to get their education through online platforms suffer a lot. We cannot express in words how much pain we felt. We request the authorities to kindly intervene and help us come out of this grave and hopeless situation.”