Pipar village near Haldighati near Udaipur is one of the villages that is struggling with internet connectivity even in times when India is going digital at an accelerated pace. The government claims that maximum transactions will be made paperless under its Digital India Mission, but Pipar is among the many villages in India that are struggling with negligible or no internet connectivity.
Located nearly 30 kilometers from Udaipur, Pipar is a small village whose residents travel 3km every other day to a hilltop to get internet access. Matters become worse when those working under the MNREGA project have to walk this distance to mark their attendance online in order to get paid. Not only Internet connectivity, the residents struggle with mobile connectivity as well.
A similar situation arises when the residents of this village need ration under the BPL government schemes and such. Earlier thumb impressions were taken by the ration dealer to verify the recipient, but now they need to get their identification approved through an OTP, which makes it all the more complicated, when there is low or negligible internet connectivity. At times, the residents cannot even call for an Ambulance or medical help. Pregnant woman and those ill suffer the most and are in life threatening situations many a time.
Vardi Singh Rajput a resident of Pipar village said that more than 300 families live in this village but no internet service is available here since the beginning. Residents either need to climb up trees or the the village water tank to get even the weakest of signals to receive the OTP in order to get supplies from the government ration dealer. He added that the case becomes more serious when any emergency service is needed. Those in need have to travel 3km to the hillock to call the ambulance.
He further said that the administration has already been informed about the situation several times but nothing has been done in this matter yet. Subsequent to their numerous complaints, the villagers met the District Collector once again on Thursday, 9 February and handed over a memorandum to him expressing their condition with a request to solve their problems.
Even Bhanwar Singh Mojawat, the Ration Dealer of the area said that his shop is located at Pipar but whenever an individual wants to get his ration, he needs to travel to Sangat which is 3km from Pipar and complete the OTP authentication process in order to get his ration. He said that it is an exhausting and time consuming exercise that each villager has to undertake if they want to get the household supplies through the ration shop. Many a times they have to return back empty handed. The surrounding Haldi Ghati forest makes it even more difficult as the route is infested with wild life and human life is at risk, especially if someone needs to travel alone at night to access internet or mobile network.
According to media reports the total mobile users in India till 2021 have touched 116.3 crore, but of the 5.97 lakh villages in India over 25,000 villages still do not have mobile or internet connectivity. Among the 90 districts in 11 states that have been affected by left-wing extremism, there are over 10,000 villages that do not have mobile and internet connectivity.
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