India’s first free wifiZone village council made possible on a few youngsters’ own personal expenses: At a time when there is so much of campaigning going around for facebook’s FreeBasics initiative, there is a group of young engineers who are silently working towards making villages connected to Internet. Four IT engineer friends Shakeel Anjum, Bhanu Yadav, Tushar Barthare and Abhishek Barthare, have started a mission to bring free wi-fi connectivity to remote villages which otherwise don’t have access to any kind of Internet network. And all this, they are doing on their own expenses, without any financial support from Govt. They are inspired from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Digital India” initiative, and have take it as their personal mission to connect as many villages to Internet as possible. They have started a journey of digital India by making Shivnathpura village MP’s first wifi village and now same I.T Engineers have taken another step ahead by making Bawdikheda Jagir India’s first free WiFizone Village Council.
Their latest initiative has been to bring wifi connectivity to a Gram Panchayat in Madhya Pradesh. Bawdikheda jagir became Madhya Pradesh’s first Wifi enabled gram panchayat. Before this, about 3 months ago a village named Shivnathpura was wifi connected by these engineers. And now they have taken another step forward and established a free wifi zone in the whole gram panchayat Bawdikheda jagir. With the help of wifi residents can access every information regarding education, farming and panchayat just on some clicks.
They have also placed 200 ampere inverter to avoid irregular power outage, so that internet is available to residents 24*7 even during power cuts. Now residents can get knowledge about government initiatives and plans at their home only.
Our team came in touch with one of their team member Mr. Shakeel Anjum, and had a quick Q&A session about this initiative. Here are the questions we put to them:-
A:- After making Shivnathpura the first free wifi village, we 4 I.T engineers- Tushar Bharthare , Shakeel Anjum, Bhanu Yadav and Abhishek- took initiative by making M.P.’s first free wifi village council on 17th of November named as Bawdikheda Jageer. It is totally free of cost for the villagers and people around. However the total set up cost to us reached around 2 lakhs. We have set up a base station at Shivnathpura and linked Bawdikheda with the same base station using 5.8 and 2.4 frequency devices. Any one can connect to wifi zone and it will be secured with Mac binding technique.
Q:- Where did the idea come from? What inspired you to take up this project?
A:- We were inspired by project Digital India started by respected prime minister. We started WiFiIndia by WiFiIndian.
Q:- Who else were involved in helping this project becoming a successful one?
A:- We are 4 IT engineers who have worked hard and invested own money in it without any help from anyone. Apart from me, my three other friends Tushar Bharthare, Bhanu Yadav and Abhishek have been involved in this project.
Q:- Approximately how much expense was involved in making this a reality? How did you people arrange it?
A:- We have invested around 2 lakhs rupees from our own saving. We have set up a tower and installed high frequency devices on that. We have also arranged power inverter with 24 hours back-up in case of power cut.
Q:- Did you people get any kind of help from Government?
A:- No help from government so far. However we are seeking financial help for making other panchayats and villages have their own free wifi zones.
A:- They are really excited and thankful to us. We have also provided Internet training to them through our NGO ( Rajgarh Computer Seva Sanstha). It is good to see that many people are now purchasing android phones and using whatsapp Facebook , web browsing etc, on their smartphones itself.
Q:- Do you have any future plans about expansion of this project at similar levels, may be in surrounding areas?
A:- Of course. In fact that is why we have chosen Shivnathpura and installed tower on height which will help us to connect other places at nominal cost (if we get financial help)
Q:- What do you expect from public and Government (about any monetary help, or any other kind of personal participation by public)?
A:- We are looking forward to get help from government as people there do not understand the meaning and benefits of virtual world. So better they should be provided with free Internet access for now. For realizing our mission on a large scale, we need financial back up. So it will be great if we could get monetary assistance from Government and public for this project.
Yuva Revolution:- Thanks for your time responding to our questions Shakeel. This is really Great work by you and your friends. You people really deserve appreciation for this. Kudos. Keep up the Great work.
Shakeel: Thank you so much for your great support and appreciation.
After it’s publication here, this news got applauded by several well known people and news publications:-
1) Applauded by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan on his twitter profile here.
2) Featured by Hindustan Times here.
3) Featured by Times of India here.
4) Featured on TheBetterIndia website here.
Some of the images sent by Shakeel.