Gonds in Chhattisgarh get app for news in their language
Tribals belonging to the Gond group in Chhattisgarh will now be able to listen to the news in their local language with the help of a new mobile application.
Based on text-to-speech technology, Adivasi Radio App can read out written reports in Gondi, which is one of the main tribal languages of the region. It is also a repository of material available in Gondi language from various external sources.
The Adivasi Radio App, developed by International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Naya Raipur, Microsoft Research and CGnet Swara Foundation, was launched on Wednesday in Raipur.
“We want to go to tribal regions of Chhattisgarh including Bastar and build technologies that benefit people. This app is just one of the efforts born from a partnership between Microsoft Research India, CGnet Swara and IIIT Naya Raipur,” IIIT’s director Pradeep K Sinha said.
“A lot of the work in this app was done by a student of ours, Anurag, along with some others and the guidance of the Microsoft team,” Sinha said.
Tribals form 31% of Chhattisgarh’s population and Gonds are the biggest group.
However, a senior bureaucrat of the Chhattisgarh government said it will not be easy to circulate a mobile application in tribal areas of Chhattisgarh because mobile connectivity is poor and awareness very low.
“The project should be appreciated but it is not practically possible to circulate the application in the tribal region, where connectivity is only 25-30%,” the Indian Administrative Service officer said.
The founder of CGnet Swara Foundation, Shubhranshu Choudhary, said it will indeed be a slow process because the poor connectivity but it will reach the tribal.
“Mobile is the future of these areas. The radio is dying in these areas and mobiles are continuously being purchased,” said Chaudhary.
He said that the team is also working on creating a machine translation tool between Gondi and other languages.
“As a first step towards that, a team from CGnet Swara has translated 10,000 sentences from Hindi to Gondi. These sentences will now be fed to computers. These sentences were taken from 400 children’s books provided by Pratham Books, an NGO,” said Chaudhary.
“This is the first time so many books have been translated in Gondi language and will help towards bringing Gondi to the mainstream.”