It was a day of disappointment for the sarpanch of Daria village as Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not interact with him as scheduled on Wednesday.
Since the national optical fibre network (NOFN) project was inaugurated pan-India on the opening day of Digital India Week, a 3D holographic video was to be streamed from Daria village to Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.
Elaborate arrangements were made by the village panchayat and around 500 people gathered to witness the live interaction between the PM and village sarpanch Gurpreet Singh Happy. The idea behind the video conference was to showcase the strength of the high-speed optical fibre internet connectivity at the gram panchayat level.
Happy, who arrived for the day in a safari suit, said that panchayat had already spent around Rs 60,000 on the arrangements.
“I am feeling highly disappointed. I was so excited to interact with the Prime Minister. We have invited local doctors, educationists and other important persons from the area to interact with the PM. Moreover, around 500 people have gathered here to witness the interaction. It is very humiliating,” said Happy, a Congress supporter.
The sarpanch said he received no official communication from the administration about the video conference being called off.
“Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) senior general manager BM Setia informed us about this after we had made all the arrangements,” he said.
BM Setia said the event failed to take place as the desired 3D holographic image could not be created.
“Our team was making arrangements till late night on Tuesday but we were told in the morning that there would be no video conference,” he said.
Setia said a film was shot on the village and the sarpanch’s biodata was sent to Delhi after receiving an official communication from there.
A few people present at the spot alleged that since the sarpanch was a Congress supporter, the interaction was called off. However, BJP leaders present at the event rubbished such allegations.
Meena Kumari, one of the many disappointed Daria residents, said: “I came here to listen to Modi. It is a great project as many works would be easily done digitally without any trouble. At the same time, I would suggest the PM to concentrate first on the civic problems of the area as streetlights do not work here and roads are in a bad shape.”
The UT administration has signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding with the department of telecommunication and BBNL for implementing the NOFN project in the UT.
The UT department of information technology, as a nodal department, had ensured that optical fibre under this project was successfully laid across all 12 gram panchayats in the UT.