MUMBAI: When it came to attending online classes, this third year veterinary college student in Konkan’s Dharishte town would climb rocks for more than an hour so that she could access the broadband connection. Her pictures went viral, reaching the Prime Minister’s Office which stepped in to bring some relief to Swapnali Sutar.
“We didn’t get an internet connection at our house. So, I would go up the rocks and sit in a makeshift camp from 7 am to 6.30 pm every day. I had to be careful of the rain; it would soak my notebook. Every day was a challenge,” said Swapnali.
The photograph of Swapnali studying in a makeshift hut in rain got viral. Her local BJP MLA Nitesh Rane extended help to her by shouldering her education expenses.
Various social groups gave her a laptop, replacing her brother’s mobile phone, while others have extended financial help. Swapnali’s pictures also reached the PMO, and soon local government services swung into action. Under the Bharat Internet scheme, the broadband internet service came to Swapnali’s hamlet of 1,200 people at Dharishte in Kankavli tehsil in Maharashtra’s Konkan region.
“My parents were concerned about my safety, but I did not want to skip my classes. Getting food was also a problem, so I ate only once in the morning. By the time I returned, it was already evening,” Swapnali said. The internet connection was first given to their local gram panchayat. Through Wi-Fi, the students were given the connection.
“Now I don’t have to stay out in a forest. I am very happy and grateful to the PMO. We will also get photocopy and other online services at our place. We would be saving a lot of time,” she said.