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Villagers rejoice in Rangapuram, 182 mobile towers sanctioned in Andhra

Leela Rani, a village volunteer in Rangupuram tribal hamlet in Parvathipuram-Manyam district, used to trek to distant places every day through dense forest in search of a mobile network.

Climbing the hills for signal reception to distribute pensions and provide other e-governance initiatives to the public, as part of her duties, has now become a thing of the past as the remote hamlet has got a new mobile tower.

It has felt like a dream come true for hundreds of villagers of Rangupuram and Pellivalasa hamlets in Kurupam mandal in the district. In the absence of mobile network, the villagers had to travel to several kilometres for calls and to avail government schemes. Even decades after the digital revolution swept the world, the digital mainstreaming of tribals had never happened in these parts in the past.

Speaking to ToI, Nimma Ashok Kumar, a local youth, explained how they had grappled with network issues. “Festive mood has prevailed among people in our hamlet now. We had to take a treacherous trek for biometric authentication and for other works in the past. Now, the villagers have started reaping the fruits of digital technologies. They can call and see what is happening outside the village on their smartphones, which were earlier limited to ornamental purpose, from the comfort of their homes,” said Ashok Kumar.

Local community health worker Ariki Kalavathi said that the digital inclusion will facilitate them providing the government services at the doorstep of the public instead of earlier running for mobile cover in the hills.

Kondagorri Ruth, a local youth, said that their exclusion from the digital world had left them alone even during medical or other emergencies as they could not call anyone. “The situation has changed now. From calls, videos, and mobile banking to information and net browsing, the new tower will only prove to be a blessing for the locals,” said Ruth.

Parvathipuram-Manyam district collector Nishant Kumar said that a total of 182 new mobile towers have been sanctioned to the district. “The new towers will bring in a digital revolution in these remotest parts. While one telecom operator has already set up four towers, 40 more towers will be made ready by the same organisation by June. Another telecom operator will bring 23 towers into operation by April.

Clearances have been sanctioned for construction of 47 towers in the forest areas under the scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers (RoFR) Act in the district-level meeting conducted on March 28, Tuesday,” said Nishant Kumar. ToI

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