Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Reeling under information blockade of sorts due to lack of cellular connectivity in absence of mobile network, residents of Adasipada gram panchayat under Khajuripada block in Kandhamal district have decided to refrain from participating in the upcoming Panchayat elections in Odisha.

The villagers complained that lack of mobile connectivity has deprived them from availing timely healthcare and online studies of children.

“We are not able to contact 108 ambulance service during medical emergencies due to lack of mobile signal. Though we have approached the administration for a mobile tower several times in the past, all our pleas have fallen to deaf ears,” said Paramananda Sahani, a villager.

“Students are the worst sufferers due to the absence of a mobile tower. They are not able to attend online classes due to the ongoing pandemic,” said Maheswar Mallick, another villager.

“From studies, examinations to job applications, everything is online now. Internet is the gateway to information now-a- days. But we have been left in a state of backwardness due to the indifferent approach by the district administration,” he said.

The villagers under the banner of Adasipada Aware Citizen Forum have even locked up the gram pachayat office and staged a protest in front of it. They have also ordered the aspiring candidates not to file their nominations for the upcoming polls.

“Our only demand is mobile connectivity. People of our Gram Panchayat will neither contest in any posts in the forthcoming polls, nor go to the polling booth to vote if our demand is not met,” said a protestor.

(Edited by Rasmi Ranjan Mohanty)

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