100 village heads take WhatsApp route to share development ideas | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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100 village heads take WhatsApp route to share development ideas

The WhatsApp group was created around a month back. Upadhyaya, the group administrator, wants to add the heads of 150 villages to the group.

lucknow Updated: May 04, 2017 14:14 IST
Sudhir Kumar
The WhatsApp group: ‘Pradhan for Development’ with the logo ‘What’s up Pradhan Ji’ has brought 100 village heads in touch with one another.
The WhatsApp group: ‘Pradhan for Development’ with the logo ‘What’s up Pradhan Ji’ has brought 100 village heads in touch with one another. (File Photo)

A group of village heads in eastern Uttar Pradesh is using the cross-platform instant messaging application WhatsApp to share innovative ideas about development and suggest ways for their successful implementation.

The WhatsApp group: ‘Pradhan for Development’ with the logo ‘What’s up Pradhan Ji’ has brought 100 village heads in touch with one another.

Two youths, Ravi Mishra and Divyashu Upadhyay, have created the group. Resident of Varanasi, the youths are Banaras Hindu University alumni who have formed HOPE, a non-government organisation that is creating awareness in the rural areas on village development.

The WhatsApp group was created around a month back. Upadhyaya, the group administrator, wants to add the heads of 150 villages to the group. The process is already underway.

Mishra says he is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement: “Let’s further increase the use of technology in our daily lives and to make a positive difference to our society.”

A few village heads are very active and share pictures of every meeting on the WhatsApp group. They suggest ideas and advise their counterparts to work hard to bring in development and basic amenities.

They post comments such as ‘work hard or public will teach us a lesson after five years’.

Heads of villages such as Bhamaura (Chandauli), Nagava (Ballia), Bhamupur (Ghazipur), Dewa (Ghazipur) and Jayapur (Varanasi) are among the members of the group. Bhamaura is the native village of union home minister Rajnath Singh. Nagavan is the birthplace of revolutionary Mangal Pandey. Bhamupur is the native place of Param Chakra awardee Abdul Hameed.

Divyanshu Upadhyaya and Ravi Mishra travelled to the village panchayats and called on pradhans, telling them how a WhatsApp group can help them bring change on the ground.

The duo convinced the village heads, took their mobile phone numbers and connected them to the group.

Bhamaura village head Awadhesh Kumar Singh says, “This is a new experience. I never thought that WhatsApp can be so helpful in bringing about development. Now, I get new ideas on how to implement developmental schemes successfully.”

Srinarayan Patel, the head of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s adopted village Jayapur, was not very familiar with WhatsApp earlier. But he likes the group now and enjoys going through the ideas shared by the village heads.

Patel says, “The new group is very useful. Fresh ideas are coming in all the time. Within minutes, a good idea can be circulated and shared with 100 pradhans.” The village heads also exchange ideas about charity work on the group. Many of them update the members about the development works in their respective village panchayats daily.

Mishra and Upadhyay teach at a coaching centre to meet the expenses of their organisation. The youths earlier formed Green Group, consisting of rural women at Khushiyari village. The women members of the Green Group fight social evils like alcoholism and gambling.

Many students are associated with HOPE as volunteers. Mishra and Upadhyay, who lead the campaign, also teach children in the rural areas for free. The youths say villages are the key to the country’s development.