We are completely digital, say Harisal villagers
Refute MNS chief Raj Thackeray's allegations that the state-sponsored project was a sham
Days after Raj Thackeray called a state-sponsored digital project in a tribal village of Harisal (Melghat) a sham, the villagers have vehemently refuted the claim. The elected representatives and some villagers aired their views in a Facebook live session on Monday to negate the claims of the MNS chief who continues to mock the BJP government over the project. Harisal's Deputy Sarpanch Ganesh Yeole said the video that Thackeray has shown in his presentations was defamatory and baseless. "If we did not have internet connection here, how would we be able to do a Facebook live session today?" he asked.
At one of the rallies, Thackeray had invited a youth from Harisal who had appeared in the state government's promotion of Harisal smart village that was adopted by international IT giants. Smart Harisal was supposed to be one of the first achievements under the PM's flagship "Digital India' project. But, Thackeray said nothing of that sort had ever happened in the village. However, Yeole said local schools have been given computer labs where top companies have provided technology. "The Internet works fine here. Thackeray is defaming us only for political gain," he said. A local resident, Ashok Athawale, said digitisation of the village has increased tourist footfall. "We have 10 guides here who reach out to the people though WhatsApp and Facebook."
Yeole said the women benefited most because of web connectivity. "The women have learned stitching, bag-making and other skills by watching online videos. They have jobs now." The webcast had students and shopkeepers saying that connectivity was good and seamless. The villagers insisted that they were not forced by any political party or the government to praise the project. "The youth here have benefitted. They know where jobs are available and where information about the recruitment examination is available," said a local panchayat samiti member Ramvilas Dahikar.
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