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2 years after Modi praised him at Wembley, Alwar’s Imran Khan logged out by BSNL

A Mathematics teacher in Alwar who hit the headlines for developing educational apps, has been left high and dry after his ‘free’ BSNL wi-fi internet connection went down more than six months ago.

india Updated: Jul 17, 2017 11:20 IST
Rakesh Goswami
Rakesh Goswami
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
BSNL,Free internet,Internet link failure
Punjab governor V P Singh felicitating Imran Khan at a Digital India event in Chandigarh last month.(HT PHOTO)

After a brief blaze of glory, Imran Khan of Alwar finds himself saddled with a dud ‘free’ internet connection.

Less than two years after state-run BSNL offered Khan free internet connection for developing mobile applications following Prime Minister Narendra Modi praising him in his address at the iconic Wembley stadium in London in November 2015, the service provider has virtually logged him out.

His internet connection has been down for more than six months.

Khan caught the PM’s attention after HT front-paged an article on the mathematics teacher from a Sanskrit School in Alwar on July 22, 2015, for developing 42 educational android apps in three years without any formal training in computers.

Modi said, “My India resides in people like Imran Khan,” during his speech at the London stadium. A day later, telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad called up Khan congratulated him for the noble work he was doing for the students.

“Today morning I asked the CMD of BSNL to send the GM of Alwar to meet him. He was traced, I talked to him, congratulated him and told him that the entire country is proud of him for the work he is doing,” Prasad had said after the call.

BSNL gave Khan free internet connection through wireless WiMAX technology because his house in Khareda village in Malakhera was unfeasible for a wired connection. “But,” Khan said, “it was a basic connection and I could log in only sporadically.”

“For last six months, it is completely down,” he added.

On Saturday, a BSNL team visited Imran’s house to fix the fault but failed.

“I learnt about it on Saturday and sent a team to repair the connection,” BSNL’s GM in Alwar Shyam Singh told HT.

He initially claimed that the connection had been restored but after checking with Khan he conceded that the link was still not working.

A former top BSNL official said there was need to lay about 1.5 km of optical fibre to Khan’s house to provide him seamless internet connectivity but despite several letters to Delhi, the department never got budget for the same.

Khan said the optical fibre had been laid until 200 metres from his house.

The 36-year-old schoolteacher has developed more apps since Modi hailed him – 72 at last count – with 8.5 million downloads.

“I have two SIM cards of a private service provider to access internet but now the company has limited internet to 1GB a day,” he said.

In November 2016, Union minister of state for law and justice, electronics and IT, PP Chaudhary made Khan a member of the technical advisory of an institute under the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY). Khan was roped in to develop mobile applications for the ministry under the national institute of electronics and information technology (NIELIT), the human resources development (HRD) arm of the MeitY.

Two months ago, he was asked to make an app on goods and services tax (GST) to spread awareness among businessmen. “With no internet at home, I couldn’t download the videos the ministry wanted in the app so I went to Delhi for two days to make the app,” Khan said.

First Published: Jul 16, 2017 14:59 IST