Ludhiana: Wi-Fi hotspots would be deployed at the rural railway stations of Ludhiana district by the end of year to upgrade the rural railway passengers. Moreover, large number of Feroezpur Division railway stations would also be covered under the proposed railway programme soon. The proposed initiative would be done under `Digital India’ programme to connect rural crowd digitally.
It is aimed to give a big boost to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Digital India’ programme with a deeper push into rural areas as railway cater maximum passengers in India. But the names of the selected railway stations have not yet been specified by authorities. Confirming the development, the Divisional Rail Manager (DRM), Feroezpur Division, Anuj Parkash revealed that RailTel, the communications arm of Indian Railways, and the telecom department are mulling ways to deploy Wi-Fi hotspots at some 4,000 semi-urban and rural railway stations at an estimated cost of around Rs 400 crore. “Around half a dozen railway stations of Ludhiana district and many others in the divisions would come under it”, he added.
He said that Railways are in active discussions with Telecom Department to convert at least 4,000 rural railway stations of the country into high-speed Internet zones to offer citizen-centric services. The state-run company is seeking DoT’s approval to fund programme through a Universal Service Obligation fund. The corpus was created in 2003 to support projects for the communications and technology access to people in rural and remote areas at affordable prices. Ravneet Grewal, a daily passenger at the Ludhiana railway station from rural background, showed her gratitude over the proposal said, “If it would really be done practically it would be very useful for the people mainly youngsters.
They can perform their number of works at the railway stations only regarding internet as they have to go to the cities for doing even small works regarding internet. Filling form etc as in present era life without the internet is hard.” “It’s a very good initiative under the Digital India scheme for rural and semi urban people. As with the internet one can book tickets and pay bills from home only. We did not have to travel for long distances in the scorching heats and rainy season. Moreover our children would get a good exposure with the internet as now world is becoming digital only and we are still living in the old era only”, said a middle aged rural shopkeeper, Sukhdev Chadda from Baddowal.
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