Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has decided to set up free WiFi spots at the site of the farmers’ protest near Singhu border to enable the agitators to be in touch with their families back home and answer the “lies and propaganda of the BJP and Modi Sarkar” on social media. This initiative has come following complaints from farmers protesting at Singhu border of poor internet connectivity. Lakhs of farmers have been camping near five borders of Delhi, with Singhu emerging as the epicentre of the protest against the Centre’s recent farm reforms.
The party’s Punjab co-in-charge Raghav Chadha made the announcement from the party’s headquarters at ITO, with journalists from Punjab also joining in via videoconferencing. Chadha said, “During the course of this period, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal went there, many of our MLAs, ministers, councillors, karyakartas have gone there to serve, and sevadar Arvind Kejriwal provided them with services raging from blankets to langars, toilets to water. And now sevadar Arvind Kejriwal ji is adding another crucial service at Delhi Singhu border and that is the service of free WiFi.”
Chadha said that for a human being to lead a life of dignity, three things are necessary: food, clothing and housing. “However, in this modern age, a fourth need has also been added, which is the internet. We saw that the country ‘s farmers from every nook and cranny have come to the doorstep of Delhi and over the past one month they have been agitating, fighting for their rights,” he said.
Chadha added that there has been feedback from the farmers that the cellphone reception is weak, the network is weak, there is low connectivity, due to which the protesters who are fighting for their rights are facing difficulties in accessing the Internet, and to remove this difficulty, Arvind Kejriwal has added the service of free WiFi.
On being asked whether this was an initiative of the AAP government in Delhi, Chadha clarified that it was an initiative of Arvind Kejriwal and the party.
Chadha said that whether it is the country ‘s jawan or kisan, the biggest strength of that person comes from family. “It is the family that is the source of all the strength, the courage, the determination. If today, he (a farmer) is facing difficulty in connecting with his family due to poor internet connectivity, then it was their duty to provide internet connectivity. However, the provision of free WiFi hotspots at Singhu will not be just to enable protesters to connect with family. It will also be for answering the BJP’s ‘lies and propaganda’,” Chadha said, adding that ”the country’s farmer today not only knows how to plough the fields but also run social media, knows how to expose the BJP on social media and that will also happen with internet connectivity”.
As of now, there is no estimate on the number of the free WiFi hotspots, said Chadha. “It will depend on the demand and feedback from farmers. Once a location is identified, it will take 24 to 48 hours for the WiFi hotspot to be set up. The WiFi hotspots will have a radius of 100 km and will cover 31,000 square feet. There has been a demand from Singhu border. Farmers have contacted us and told us that there is no WiFi…many journalists have told us that they are facing difficulty in uploading videos. We will set up at any place from where we receive a demand,” he said.
Raghav Chadha also appealed to farmers to reach out whenever there are issues of low connectivity and specific spots at Singhu border where there is a need for free WiFi hotspots with good internet speed.