Karnataka: Villagers say ‘no network, no vote’ | Mysuru News – Times of India

SHIVAMOGGA: The district administration in Shivamogga selected Tumari gram panchayat in Sagar taluk for its ‘digital GP’ initiative, and in 2018, a BSNL tower was installed in the village to bolster connectivity. However, the objective has not been accomplished, prompting residents in the villages under the Tumari GP’s jurisdiction to launch a ‘No Mobile Network, No Voting’ initiative.
The villagers have decided to boycott the zilla panchayat and taluk panchayat elections to protest the failure of the elected representatives to ensure mobile connectivity. Many young professionals, who returned to the villages in the GP’s jurisdiction, following the enforcement of the lockdown, have been struggling to workfrom-home owing to the lack of phone and internet connectivity. They were forced to climbing nearby hillocks or stay at the homes of relatives in nearby towns.
School and college students in the Malnad region are among the worst affected. Residents of villages falling under the jurisdiction of five GPs on the banks of River Sharavathi in Sagar, have threatened to boycott the TP and ZP elections.
People trying to shore up support for their campaign, have been making door-todoor visits in Tumari, Shankara Shanubog, Aralagodu and other villages. Many other villages in Hosanagara, Thirthahalli taluks in Shivamogga district and Kopp and Sringeri in Chikamagaluru, have joined the #NoNetworkNoVoting campaign, which has been launched on social media portals.
Shankar, a resident of Kattinakaru village near Kodachadri, said he had created a WhatsApp group to garner support for the campaign. “If elected representatives, including Shivamogga MP BY Raghavendra and local legislators, fail to address this persistent problem, we will stay away from the polling booths,” he said.
BSNL assistant general manager Venkatesh said: “We have received no fresh proposal or grants to expand our services, while private players, the only objective of whom is profit, will not instal mobile towers.”

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Sagar Biswas

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