PHULABANI : A hill-locked village in Kandhamal district, deprived of getting mobile phone services, is now connected with the world. Thanks to an out-of-the-box idea of a bureaucrat. The people of Badaki village, nearly 8 km from district headquarters, were desperate to get digitally connected. Though they procured mobile phones and computers, they found the gadgets useless for lack of e-connectivity. Ironically, mobile phone service providers were keen on extending their services but were reluctant to erect a mobile tower in the hard-to-access village of the district where Maoists have been on the rampage.
During a chance visit to the village, Phulbani BDO Subrat Kumar Jena came across heaps of old and discarded tube-well pipes gathering dust in the panchayat office. Suddenly an idea struck him and he contacted BSNL authorities with his plan.
Though Jena had earlier contacted the BSNL to erect a mobile tower, the latter did not oblige on the pretext of financial constraints. This time, he told them that the villagers will construct the tower from their own sources and requested for extending services. The BSNL authorities agreed on the condition that there should be 24x7 power supply to the tower.
Under the supervision of BSNL engineers, a 30-ft tower made with the scrap materials were erected. The labour charge of `7,000 of the welders was the only expenditure incurred for the tower as the locals pitched in free of cost. As uninterrupted power supply was mandatory, inverters were procured at a cost of `20,000. Thus the tower was all set to start beaming the signals.
BDO ‘towering’ efforts
“Due to voluntary efforts of the villagers, the “hand-made” mobile phone tower could come up at a cost of only Rs 27,000 which was sanctioned from contingency funds of the panchayat,” the BDO said.
Sub-Divisional Engineer of BSNL DE Ranjan Kumar Behera said the village is now linked to the network from the hand made a tower and is perfectly providing services to mobile users. Besides the villagers, the Government offices like community service station in the village are provided internet facility.