Bhubaneswar mock inauguration of mobile towers in Orissa villages | In Orissa, villagers angry over MLA’s failure to set up mobile tower

In place of the mobile tower stood a dummy – a bamboo structure decorated with a banner reading ‘BSNL 4G’. Standing around him were angry villagers who questioned the weak mobile network in the area.

In Orissa, villagers angry over MLA's failure to set up mobile tower

Orissa villagers angry over mobile tower

Pradeep Kumar Dishari, a BJD MLA from Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district of Orissa, used to make regular visits to his constituency, including Baitikhaman village, with the panchayat elections in February. At the same time, the villagers of the neighboring Bandhapari gram panchayat requested him to inaugurate a telecommunication tower in his village. But on reaching the village field he realizes that he has been deceived. In place of the mobile tower stood a dummy – a bamboo structure with ‘BSNL 4G’ written on a banner. It was surrounded by angry villagers, who were questioning the area’s weak mobile network.

Another banner nearby read, ‘Honorable MLA Pradeep Kumar Dishari has inaugurated our new telecom tower. “Our protest against the politicians and their false promises was a fake inauguration,” said a young villager. We have made many requests from politicians for a mobile tower here because we all, especially children and the elderly, have run into a lot of problems without mobile connection.

‘Politicians bring a lot of promises’

MLA Pradeep Kumar further said that all our requests have been ignored. Politicians come with many promises before elections but forget all. We have so far treated our requests very politely, but this time we want politicians to be embarrassed to make false promises. Villagers say that last year they submitted at least four memoranda to MLAs and district officials requesting them to install mobile towers for their gram panchayats.

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The leader said a 26-year-old pregnant woman had recently died as the villagers were not taken to the hospital on time. He was in great distress, there were no vehicles around. I had to walk a long distance to call an ambulance, I could have saved him if I had contacted the ambulance earlier. Villagers also say that since the epidemic began, when schools moved their classes online, children had to take a short trek on a small hill in the nearby Hatisal Valley to catch some network on their phones, while MLA Dishari acknowledged that the villagers’ unique protest Surprised them. “I didn’t know the villagers had any plans like this, although I was skeptical about how the mobile tower would come here,” he said. I understand their complaint. From time to time we have sought approval to set up telecom towers in these areas.

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