Free Wi-Fi: BJP, Congress call it ‘gimmick’, people question relevance
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, maintained that there was “some deficiency” in the existing infrastructure and that, he said, is one reason why students and young adults still ask him about the WiFi project.Updated: Aug 08, 2019 23:53 IST
While the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress called the Delhi government roll out of the free WiFi project an election gimmick, several residents in the city questioned the relevance of the project in the time of wide reach of smartphones and easy availability of mobile internet data packs at cheap rates.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, maintained that there was “some deficiency” in the existing infrastructure and that, he said, is one reason why students and young adults still ask him about the WiFi project.
The Delhi cabinet has approved setting up of 11,000 Wi-Fi hotspot zones in the city, which would allow smartphone and computer users within 50m radius to avail free internet services, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.
“It is understandable for any party to have included free WiFi in its poll agenda in 2015, but in the last four years things have changed so much,” said Avantika Kumar, a Delhi University student. “One can easily recall how 2015 was the time when restaurants and coffee shops providing free internet would be crowded for the services but that does not happen now.”
“The last four years witnessed huge drop in the rate of mobile internet data packs. Most of them presently offer access to practically unlimited amount of data for nominal charges,” said Mainak Kishor, who is currently pursuing a diploma in an industrial training institute in Delhi.
“But the free WiFi can be really helpful when the mobile internet services are down,” said Sonali, who uses only her first name.
BJP leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta criticised the AAP government in Delhi for the missing deadline of the project and bringing it to life when assembly election are soon to happen. “This is nothing but a poll gimmick as the elections are approaching. The [Delhi] government is cheating the people of Delhi on this,” he said.
“This is undoubtedly an election gimmick. These days, every service provider is giving free data at affordable rates. Then what is the relevance of this announcement now? This government is not talking about more relevant issues such as women’s safety, lack of public transport, and healthcare facilities. What happened to those promises? Every other day the AAP announces something new to be in the news and then sits over those schemes,” said Delhi Congress working president Rajesh Lilothia.
Defending the initiative, Kejriwal said, “We have interviewed students and young adults. Despite getting mobile internet at cheap rates they ask about the Wi-Fi project. It shows there is some deficiency somewhere. Plus, this project will give them additional 15 GB.”
AAP leader Atishi said, “It is more about fulfilling a promise. WiFi project was point number 38 in our 70-point action plan in the AAP’s 2015 manifesto. We will fulfil the promise.”