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Orissa villages go Wi-Fi, have an e-postman


Amiya Pani,CNN-IBN
Sep 12, 2007 at 11:49am IST

Raghurajpur (Orissa): In Orissa, a state transport bus service is contributing to Internet connectivity.

Every time the bus passes through the Raghurajpur village in the state, it becomes the villager's ticket to Internet connectivity.

The bus is fitted with a Wi-Fi box and is a source of help to artists in Raghurajpur like Sarat Mohapatra.

"The Internet has really improved my sales. In my 30-year career as an artist, we never had such facilities. Now, I can contact customers, and they can contact me,” says Mohapatra.

Mahapatra's days are filled with the Patachitra artistic strokes passed down generations, but now, he's learning something a lot newer - the Internet.

The United Villages kiosk in Raghurajpur is equipped with a Wi-Fi antenna and computers and Mohapatra saves his emails on the hard disk. When the Wi-Fi enabled bus passes through Raghurajpur, it picks up his email and delivers it to a nearby town with Internet connectivity.

"Many villages cannot be connected through because of infrastructure or people can't afford. In this, email is Re1 and attachments Re1. The infrastructure is just a bus,” says Manager, United villages, Kishore Sutar.

The United Village concept is also called Daknet, or Internet Post, and the bus is like a postman. It connects 25 remote villages in Orissa to already Internet-enabled areas.

A Self Help Group worker, Pranati Mishra now doesn't have to travel 30 kms to Puri to check emails from funding agencies.

"It's good to have these facilities to contact head office and funding agencies. Now it's very easy. It doesn't waste time or money,” says Pranati Mohapatra.

The Daknet service is not real time click and surf, but it is still a step towards creating one big global village.

(With inputs from Rohini Mohan in New Delhi)

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