Disconnectivity bars Thari youth to take online classes
By Arbaz Ahmed
JANJHI Aug 10,2021 – Ahmed Janjhi is a student of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology. He is in his village these days due to the lockdown of corona virus. So carrying mobile phones or laptops he is wandering on mounds to get signals.
The Telenor service is only available in the backward areas of Thar, including Janjhi, which claims to be providing 3G and instant G services. Thari youth are victim of digital divide.
Ahmed Janjhi says that due to unavailability of signals, he has to stay in Hyderabad or Umerkot city where his expenses range from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 and about 40 students from his village are far from their homes for studies despite corona fourth wave. If the signal problem in their villages is resolved, they can stay here and take online classes.
Ahmed’s father, Sohrab Janjhi, is a teacher at a local higher secondary school. He says solar energy has provided many facilities as well as opportunities. People are lighting their homes at their own expense, but the situation with mobile service and internet is very complicated. They can’t even imagine providing online classes to high school students.
Even high schools students are unable to take benefit of online material available on net. There are around 300 students in local high school. Janjhi taluka Chachro is educational center of the area.
Another villager said Janjhi village has a good number of employees in public as well as in private sector, they used to travel and have to maintain connectivity with their families, who are residing in the ancestral, but due to absence of poor network they are facing difficulties.
Ahmed says non availability of net signals in Thar is further marginalizing this backward area people.
Locals have also lodged several complaints with Telenor, Pakistan Telecom Authority and the Prime Minister’s Portal.
According to Ahmed Janjhi, these complaints have not yielded any positive results. Only once a representative from Islamabad called him and assured that they will solve the problem but they are still waiting for the solution of this problem. Telenor says it was expanding its network.
Goth Janjhi has a population of over 4,000. There are several government offices including high schools, colleges, rural health centers, post offices and more than a dozen small villages nearby where the situation of mobile service and internet is similar.
Sindh’s Thar Desert is also a tourist spot where thousands of people come for entertainment in the rains. The ancient city of Nagarparkar is crowded, but even there the internet service disappoints people. Telenor did not respond positively to the statement.
Photo by author