Poor network: Odisha students scale mountain for online classes

Rayagada: In an era of 4G and upcoming 5G networks in the country, the mobile network is still a distant dream in rural Odisha as the students have been struggling for network to attend online classes during COVID-19 pandemic.

Such a scenario was found at Kandhakhilum village under Rayagada Block where school and college students are scaling mountain for online classes.

As all the schools and colleges are closed due to COVID-19 pandemic in the State, by the order of the Government, the classes are being held online for the students.

According to reports, over 30 students are enrolled in various schools and Rayagada Women’s College and Rayagada Autonomous College have to walk 4-5 km everyday to Pitamahal area to attend online classes due to unavailability of mobile network at Kandhakhilum village.

“As it is not possible to walk long distance on daily basis for online classes, the students are bound to climb up the hills in pursuit of getting signal and to overcome the mobile network fluctuation,” said a student Manoj Kumar Batra.

The students also face fluctuation issue even after going up the hills by crossing the muddy paths.

“We are falling behind in the online class due to poor network on mobile phone at home,” said another student Sasmita Garadia.

The villagers alleged the district administration and BSNL authorities of not paying heed to their repeated demands for setting up a mobile phone tower.

The similar issue is also being faced by many students in 25 villages of 8 Gram Panchayats under Rayagada Block in the tribal dominated-district.

Source said that the online classes during COVID-19 are turning out to be nightmare for students in remote areas of the district due to no availability of mobile phone network. As many as 271 villages of the district have no mobile phone towers. This puts question mark on ‘Digital India’ programme launched by the Centre.

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