Bawdikhera Jagir has become the first village panchayat of Madhya Pradesh to provide free Wi-Fi services to its residents. Inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ project, four youths from the village, located in Rajgarh district, launched the free Internet services with their own savings.
Shakeel Anjum and Bhanu Yadav, both engineering graduates from RGPV University, along with Tushar Bharthare and Abhishek Bharthare, web designers who left their plush jobs at MNCs, launched the project formally on January 1 after two months trial run. The initiative has earned accolades from the government quarters and talks are on to implement the project on a district-level now.
“We launched the project on a trial basis on October 4 last year in Shivnathpur village under Kilchi block. After the trials proved successful, on November 17, 2015, we successfully turned the entire Bawdikhera Jagir panchayat into free Wi-Fi zone,” said Yadav, a civil service aspirant. The gram panchayat now has 24-hour free Wi-Fi service at a speed of 2 Mbps.
Talking about the impediments they faced during the project, Anjum said: “We had set up a tower in Shivnathpur village to provide the network first. But the biggest challenge was scarcity of electricity. So, we had to set up a powerful inverter to ensure 24 hour network connection. We pooled in money from our own savings for the project.”
The youths have so far spent `2 lakh from their savings. They are now planning to launch the services on a district-level and have sought help from the state government and local administration to move the project forward.
Appreciating the initiative, Rajgarh district collector Tarun Kumar Pithode said, “It is a good move by the youngsters to achieve Digital India plan. We are moving forward with the project and the district administration is planning to make Rajgarh the first district in the state to provide free Wi-Fi services. We are also planning to make it sustainable.”