Field visit to Rann of Kutch related to the topic network issues.
1. Kharaghoda village:
Kharaghoda has a population of 12,000 of which almost 85 per cent are 'agariyas' or salt-pan workers. The main business of the Kharaghoda is salt production. We interacted with different peoples of the village (Farmers, Agariyas and students). We discuss their work and the problem they face during their work. I talked to the students related to their studied and phone networks.
Observation: We found they don’t have any problem related to the network connection in the village. 70% peoples in village have smartphones. Four government schools are near to the village from which 3 schools are primary school and 1 is high school. According to the student reviews, the studies in schools are so good. Everyone in the village have their own Television (Free Dish) as a source of information. Students use YouTube for their studies but the problem they face is they are not able to understand properly from YouTube videos due to the language and most of the students are not aware about using internet. More than 50% students don’t go to the school because of the salt farming work.
Interaction with peoples in the village:
1. On talking with a truck driver, Sanjay Bhaiya, who drove to the Rann to get salt, we realised that there were not any a. With the recent developments in the 4G technology and with its penetration in India anyone could make a call in the area by standing on their truck or their home.The network wasn’t strong but it was enough for the last mile connectivity. Sanjay Bhaiya also talked about how education was difficult for the kids in the Rann. The teacher was highly inefficient and didn’t come on time for his duty. The kids too then didn’t care to study. In the village(Kharaghoda, where the internet was really good) the kids spent their time on the internet by browsing cartoon videos or playing games. And not seeing much of educational content on the internet. The truck driver mentioned about how the solar panels of the salt farmers mostly got damaged after using them for 3-4 years. Although they got subsidy the panels were not as useful.
2. Laxmiben is a woman residing in the rail region of Kharaghoda village. She is very much into devotional work and doesn’t enjoy television like her friends, She doesn't get time to properly engage in many spiritual activities as she has to take care of her grandchildren in the day and considers that to be a sort of devotion too. Also taking kids to prayer grounds is usually ineffective. She and her friends hold smaller meetings with help of chants that are either sung or played on mobile. She doesn’t know how to operate a mobile phone and doesn’t get to use it much as there is only one smartphone in the household which remains with her working son in the day and with her grandkids in the evening. Additional strain on eyes makes it difficult to get involved, however she wishes to learn. She has a son who works in loading and unloading salt from trains, her other son works at railways and her daughter suffers from severe intellectual disability. Inability to operate mobile phones, infrequent access to the device and physical limitation ( eye strain etc.) limit her access to the internet. Also physical disability can cause social isolation.
3. Sushila is a resident of the Kharaghoda village, she lives with her husband and 3 kids. Sushila’s brothers do salt farming and her husband does the work of loading and unloading in a salt factory. Their son Rahul (5) will start schooling in grade I after summer. Their daughters shanti (10) and Alka (7) both attend school in grades 5 and 3 respectively.Father of Sanjay (husband) used to work in salt farming but he doesn’t do it as the water has reduced, making salt harvesting harder. He did not use mobile much due to lack of education ( could read and write name) – the usage is usually restricted to entertainment on youtube. His wife uses the internet for sewing which also serves as a source of income too during weddings when the demand increases. Rahul uses phone frequently and is a good player of games , he didn't understand the structure of apps but instead used hit and try on different buttons in the app to get the desired result. The older girls are not allowed to use the smartphone to allow them to focus on studies. The applications installed on the device included Xender, facebook, etc. The children were well acquainted with the device but rarely used it for education , It was a source of learning new skills (like sewing) and file sharing, social media involvement exists extensively in the community.
Some people also mentioned about the lack of a proper hostel for the kids of the salt farming families. Ganatar, an organisation that set up a school for such students was no longer working(as per their statements). So the kids that wanted to study couldn’t stay back at the village.
(Names mentioned above were altered for maintaining anonymity of the subjects)
2. Aarogya Kendra (Setu’s Charitable Trust):
The people of Agariya community live under extremely harsh and inhuman conditions. While solving all their difficulties at once is not possible, Setu’s Charitable trust provide them access to timely, acceptable, qualitative and affordable health care.
Observation: Setu Charitable Trust provide medical assistance along with solving health-related problems within the Agariya community. They provide free medical service to the peoples of different villages.
How they work: At Aarogya Kendra they have their personal internet tower which work as a transmitter and they have fixed a receiver antenna in each villages on particular point. On the fixed day according to the schedule they visit to the particular village with their van. Each day they visit one village. They check the patient’s condition and mark on a sheet and send it to the doctor using whatsapp. They connect to doctor on video call using Skype and then the doctor suggest them medicines according to their reports shared by the doctors in the VAN. They had given numbers to the medicines for the village peoples to understand the medicines easily.
Problem faced by them: They are not able to provide health care to the peoples working in the Rann Area due to the network connection. They are not able to know about the emergency cases in the Rann area.
3. Rann of Kutch (salt farmers): The Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India. It is about 7500 sq km (2900 sq miles) in area and is reputed to be one of the largest salt deserts in the world.
Observation: More than 2500 family move to salt farms every year. In the salt farm the main problem they face is water problem. The water tank comes after every 15 days. If in between that they need more water so they need to come back to the village and carry water for them. The prize of the water is 1 Rs. Per liter. They use Free Dish TV on Solar. They get kheri at 9-22° temp, salt at 22-28° temp, magnesia and bromine at 20-35° temp. Everytime when they go from the village to the rann area they have to make their shelter
4. Magnesia making factory: They brought magnesia from the salt farmers. The initial temperature of magnesia is 35° to 40 ° after that they heat this liquid at 70° and again at 120 -130°. At the end they boil it at 165° temperature. Then it comes down and a roller is fixed with the water inside it. The hot liquid is passed below from the roller and it coverts it in solid magnesia form.
Process of making magnesium from magnesia: