India's first Internet village Chiluvuru is one-year-old

IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS: A village youth helping a turmeric farmer get info on Internet on fertilizers at Chiluvuru.  

Jayaraj Manepalli

CHILUVURU: None had imagined that a technological revolution would bring about a true green revolution in this little-known remote village in Duggirala mandal of Guntur district.

Today Chiluvuru is on the information technology map of India, thanks to the efforts of `Katragadda Charities' and the State Government.

Chiluvuru became the first `Rajiv Internet village' in India, when Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy inaugurated it on August 20, 2004.

It all started when Katragadda Krishna Prasad, an NRI, who wanted to see his village reap the benefits of the communication revolution.

Meagre fund allocation by the Government provoked him to contribute money for the village's development.

The Government impressed by the initiative turned responsive to his dreams and today 7,600 villagers are an excited lot.

Their village boasts of high-speed Internet connectivity that many in Hyderabad cannot imagine.

The level of technological advancement and development of the complete infrastructure allows anyone to run a full-fledged call centre (BPO).

Latest teaching aids

Training more than 400 youths and 180 women from the self-help groups (SHGs) in computers, using the latest teaching aids like CDs and VCDs in the village school they have become more than computer literate.

Today villagers pay their utility bills online, download forms and Government circulars, see the voter list, see the land-use and cropping pattern, rainfall condition in the village, know about various Government schemes, apply for birth, death, nativity, community and other certificates.

"There are no queues at the electricity revenue office now, you can walk in and pay the bill immediately," observed Pathuri Tatabbai a retired village servant.

Dasari Venkateswarlu, a turmeric farmer, was worried over the growth of the crop and could get the periodicity of fertilizer inputs, pesticide use and quantum of water for irrigation right from the field.

No scientist did all this information search for Venkateswarlu. It was his neighbour's son studying in Intermediate, who helped him out connecting to the Agriculture Department's website.

Women from nearby villages, who were mostly confined to kitchen or agriculture fields earlier, are able to assemble a computer and do the necessary hardware maintenance works confidently.

Nalini and Lakshmi Sujatha, housewives, are the hardware engineers of the village.

The relatives in the US, the UK and other countries have come closer to them now, observes Katragadda Charities trustee Katragadda Narasimha Rao.