Last August, S.A. Dakshina, a class 7 student of Sree Saraswathy Vidyalayam, Oorutambalam, in Thiruvananthapuram district wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise him of a problem.
Dakshina lives in Aaduvally, a remote village in Kattakada taluk. Her village, she informed the Prime Minister, was situated in the midst of three hills. Classes had gone online in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but for her and other students in Aaduvally, the lack of Internet facility was posing a huge hurdle. The geography of the area prevented access to Net connections and mobile coverage.
Delay after the pact
A residents’ association that plays an active role in the village had approached BSNL and other private mobile players several times. Finally, a private player had signed a pact with the association for erecting a mobile tower. However, no further steps had been taken by the company in this regard, she said, urging the Prime Minister to issue directions for erecting a mobile tower in Aaduvally.
The regional office of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) informed Dakshina in October that as there was some delay in obtaining clearances from local authorities, the service provider had abandoned the initial site. Efforts were on to get approval for a new site and erect the tower. The authorities had contacted other service providers too.
All service providers then visited the village and submitted their reports to the regional DoT office, calling for a mobile tower. Reliance Jio expressed readiness to set up the tower and acquired the site. They provided coverage by April-end, thereby ensuring that Dakshina and her friends do not miss out on their online classes.