A few months back, we had done a write up on how 4 IT graduates from Madhya Pradesh brought free wi-fi to a remote Village and a Village Council of MP. Since a bit of time has passed and they have been through quite a bit of praise (much deserving), applaud, and media exposure, we thought to get in touch with them to see what is the progress being made by them.
These four IT engineers have been doing great job digitizing places one after another. Shakeel , Bhanu, Tushar and Abhishek, have been putting consistent efforts in the direction of connecting remote towns and villages to wi-fi. By now, not only have they been covered by most of the national print media, they have also been applauded by CM of Madhya Pradesh Mr. Shivraj Singh Chauhan, and have been invited by the state’s IT minister for a discussion on their ambitious plans.
We got in touch with them to ask about the progress made, and the updates we got from them brought mixed reactions. On one hand, political response is a bit lukewarm (understandably so), the administrative officials seem supportive enough. But most of all, their own perseverance and focused approach towards their goal, are really applaudable. They are constantly looking for ways to expand their initiative to newer areas, that too with limited resources at hand. Keeping in mind the huge media coverage they received, it was expected that they will get equally large amount of support from common men, administrative officials and politicians, but unfortunately, the indications doesn’t look that encouraging.
Having said all that, there are some silver lines as well. They seem to have lot of encouragement from several political leaders, and local administration has helped them a lot in their initiatives. They have made many of the govt offices wi-fi enabled in Rajgarh city. Most importantly, they have started a new initiative in Pilukhedi town. Their they have started providing free internet for anyone, connected to specific mobile numbers. The wi-fi connections are given based on OTP sent to person’s mobile number, for security purpose. This is really a unique initiative and probably the first by non-Govt, non-corporate entity. They seem to have many ambitious plans of expanding their initiatives on a larger level, and with their perseverance nothing seems difficult.
We had a quick Q&A session with their team members too, which throws some light on their progress and initiatives. Here they are:-
Q 1: What all things happened since last time we talked last time? After Shivnathpur and Bawdikheda wi-fi area creation, what all things you people did?
A:- After Shivnathpura, we got good support from administration and we have made most of the govt offices a wi-fi zone in Rajgarh city and made Pilukhedi and Gilakhedi village a wifi zone.
Q 2: Which all politicians did you and your friends meet related to this issue? What help and support you got from them?
A:- We met with out IT minister Mr Bhupendra Singh, Mr Manish Rastogi and our area’s MLA’s. So far we got appreciation and promises. They are working on how people can be benefited by us.
Q 3:- Which all administrative officials (DM/SP/Collector etc) you met regarding this issue? What kind of support you got from them?
A:- We have got good support from them. As I said we have recently made Pilukhedi, Gilakhedi villages, and other government offices wi-fi zone. That was possible because of administration support only. Our respected collector took an initiative to make Rajgarh a Digital Rajgarh.
Q 4: Tell something about the newly covered area Peelukhedi? How did you people create it? Which all people helped in creating the wi-fi spot at the new place?
A:- Pilukhedi is near Kurawar town, from where we have taken the bandwidth through Skynet. And through 5.8 frequency devices we have taken that to village. We have used secure server where every user needs to get register through OTP before they use Internet. Same security system has been applied in Shivnathpura and Baudikheda . Also we have used high DBI antennas and new heavy devices
Q 5: What’s your future plan? Where else, in which all areas, you and your team are trying to expand this initiative?
A:- Currently we are working on more 4 villages:- Karedi, Gadiya, Jaithpura, Haripura. We are also approaching companies to make buses, BRTS, cabs, hotels , colleges a wi-fi zones
Q 6: How are you planning to meet the expenditure for your future initiatives and expansion?
A:- We are continuously meeting with investors and ministers so that we and youth like us can be the part of start-ups and make MP digital. We are having to face struggles. However, we are continuously working hard on the same.
Q 7. Did you try to get in touch with PM office on this matter? Did you get any response or support from them?
A:- Yeah, our report has been submitted to the PMO and we got appreciation from them as well but no financial or technical support so far.
That’s it on the matter. Hope these guys keep doing great work!