Three months after the three parties launched free Wi-Fi zones across the city, services in most areas are dysfunctional or have poor range
July onward, political parties such as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Shiv Sena and (Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) launched free Wi-Fi zones in some areas in the city with much fanfare to woo residents.
Residents at Shivaji Park say the free Wi-Fi service is disabled. Pics/Satyajit Desai
However, just three months after the launch, things are far from all right. While MNS’s service in Vile Parle continues to work well, its zone in Shivaji Park has a rather limited range. The Shiv Sena’s Wi-Fi — launched in competition to that of MNS — is dysfunctional and the party claims it has been deactivated to avoid controversy before the upcoming state assembly elections. Just three weeks after the BJP launched its Wi-Fi at three zones in Borivli, only one service remains active.
sunday mid-day visited all three areas in the city on Thursday and found only one Wi-Fi service in Shimpoli active, but with poor connectivity. Those at Gorai Depot, and SV Road were dysfunctional. The BJP had claimed to start services in two more locations but hadn’t. When asked, a senior BJP leader from the area, on condition of anonymity, claimed all was well. "We will start the services soon. People are using the one that is active and we are getting good response,” he insisted.
On Friday afternoon, we visited Vile Parle, and found that residents had no clue which political party had launched the Wi-Fi services in the area. Though some claimed it was Krishna Hegde, the sitting MLA from Congress who had provided the service, Hegde refuted the claim. The free Wi-Fi service available near Hanuman Road in the eastern part of the suburb was functional. It was believed to have been started by a local MNS leader.
On Friday evening, it was a struggle to find services activated by both Sena and MNS at Shivaji Park. When contacted, Sena member Samadhan Sarvankar claimed that they have deactivated the service.
Meanwhile, MNS’s Wi-Fi had a severely limited range — a user would have to walk around the stretch of the promenade to catch the signal but the minute one stepped on the other side of the road, the service was deactivated.