Ranchi, Aug. 25: No one expects a smooth ride to Jharkhand’s densely forested hinterland and certainly not a digital one. Unsurprisingly, a click to the one-day-old link http://konminjra.epanchayat.in is greeted with default messages and hourglass signs, but this is still a moment of pride.
Simdega’s Konminjra panchayat is the state’s first to have its own web portal.
On August 24, deputy commissioner (DC) of Simdega Praveen Toppo ushered a digital revolution of sorts by launching a portal of the Konminjra panchayat. So far, all panchayats across Jharkhand’s districts only had the six-digit pin code number, given by India Post.
Tucked in the woody Thethaitangar block of Jharkhand’s southernmost district Simdega, Konminjra is a symbol of rural Jharkhand coming of e-age.
Created free-of-cost by NGOs Digital Empowerment Foundation, New Delhi, and Manthan Yuva Sansthan, Ranchi, the project had the DC’s green light from the word go. Now, the Delhi outfit is training panchayat members to manage the portal themselves.
Basking in the glory of being online, the grassroots leaders are busy learning how to operate computers with alacrity.
In her mid-40s, Birjinia Soreng, Konminjra mukhiya, beams from ear to ear. “I’m learning how to operate computers. After all, my panchayat has its web portal and I must keep pace with this new development,” she says.
Soreng, armed with a BA degree — Simdega has a literacy rate is 68 per cent, of which female literacy is 59 per cent — is eager to rattle off what she knows about her panchayat.
“We have five revenue villages, Konminjra, Kurpani, Churmunda, Ghamarjharya and Siyadohar, and a total population of 5,075. We have also set a target of achieving 100 per cent birth and death registration within this financial year,” she said.
On the portal, she added: “Right now, it doesn’t have too much information. But soon we will upload comprehensive data of all the development work we do. We have stressed on sanitation and birth and death registration.”
She added that the web portal meant a lot to youngsters.
“They are smart, they want to keep in touch with the rest of the world,” said the mukhiya.
And so they will be, if Soreng’s plans materialise.
“I have made an announcement today that all girls and boys who do well in the secondary board exams will find special mention as achievers in our portal. We will arrange for special video-documentation for them. I am sure this will definitely bring visible changes in our villages,” she said.
Deputy commissioner Toppo told The Telegraph that Thethaitangar, of which Konminjra is one of the 16 panchayats, has been selected as a model block.
“We are stressing on cent percent results in every field, be it education, health, sanitation, registration or anything that can be considered as a development indicator,” Toppo said. “Our aim is to bring about development in every field. But we won’t make ambitious plans, rather, we will go slowly.”