Porvorim: Facing criticism for pushing online classes despite poor network, chief minister Pramod Sawant on Monday admitted that there’s no internet connectivity in many parts of the state, and blamed people’s opposition to mobile towers for it.
“In many places there is no connectivity, but opposition to towers continues,” said Sawant, adding that there are 250 pending applications for installing mobile towers. “I appeal to the people not to oppose the installation of towers, so that connectivity improves.” Sawant said that the government would soon come out with a telecom policy.
Leader of opposition Digambar Kamat, Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai, and Madkai MLA Ramkrishna Dhavalikar highlighted how students are facing problems with online learning. They also asked how the government could have gone ahead with it without knowing the ground reality of scarce network.
TOI, too, has consistently reported how the lack of internet connectivity in the state is hampering students’ access to education. The paper, on July 19, reported how children wrapped in tarpaulin trek 3km to a hill in Surla to get network from a tower in neighbouring Karnataka. It also reported how across the state, students are forced to visit beaches, cashew plantations and temples in search of network.
Sardesai also grilled Sawant on his discontinuation of the cyberage scheme, which was started by former CM Manohar Parrikar, Sawant’s self-professed ‘guru’. Sawant retorted that Parrikar was indeed his guru, but that the scheme was discontinued based on a report by the directorate of education, which considered the views of teachers and other education stakeholders.
Responding to a question on whether he would resurrect the scheme, which provided laptops to students, Sawant said that his government may announce a scheme to provide devices to needy students.