Nichalagarh is an amazing place located in the foothills of Mount Abu. It consists of many hamlets and is a part of Abu Road tehsil of Sirohi district in Rajasthan. If one looks up for Nichalagarh on a search engine, they will come to know that it is the same Nichalagarh that was in the news where US President Barack Obama, on his June 2015 India visit, spent 20 minutes with Sharmi Bai, the then sarpanch of the village.
It is paradoxical for Nichalagarh that while it made global headlines when its female sarpanch met the President of the US, the village itself lives in darkness—with illiteracy, unemployment and the absence of connectivity.
The situation in Nichalagarh would not remain the same for much longer. A few months ago, with the support from Tata Trusts, Jaipur-based Center for microFinance, and education-focused Rajasthan-based organization called Doosra Dashak, and Digital Empowerment Foundation got together. It was collectively decided to put up a digital resource center in Nichalagarh with Internet connectivity.
We got our barefoot wireless engineers who started identifying spots to create line of sight and to our surprise we needed three hopping spots to achieve line of sight and to bring in the broadband that existed in Abu Road to Nichalagarh village. And two of the spots had to be on the top of hills standing tall between Abu Road and Nichalagarh.
Nichalagarh now is a tribal Wi-Fi village, without any functional telecom service. One may have no hesitation to say that this is actually a sign and symbol of Digital India, where one can convert the most excluded tribal village into a broadband enabled Wi-Fi village.