Hasuri Ausanpur village in Siddharthnagar district of Uttar Pradesh is a tech geek’s dream come true. Yes, you heard right. This village, with 23 Wi-Fi hotspots and 23 CCTV cameras for its population of just over 1,000, can give most high-tech college campuses a run for their money.
Spread over 650 acres, Hasuri, near the Indo-Nepal border, has loudspeakers installed at multiple places for public addresses. The village even has a neat website that features the Geographic Information System (GIS) map of the entire village — agricultural land, grazing land, networks of roads and canals, et al.
Hasuri Ausanpur village has 23 Wi-Fi hotspots and 23 CCTV cameras for its population of just over 1,000. It even has a website that features the GIS map of the entire village — agricultural land, grazing land, networks of roads and canals, et al
There’s more. Each family’s socio-economic details are now being uploaded on the website, making it a goldmine of big data on the village. Apart from basic information (number of family members, age group, head of the family, caste), it will include micro details like: do they have life insurance and health insurance; does any family member smoke or chew tobacco; do the members wash hands before eating; does the house have a toilet, kitchen garden, compost pit, piped water supply/hand pump/well, a mosquito net or not; do the members practise yoga or play any sports; how much land the family holds and what is the irrigation method; does the family have a bank account, an ATM card, a smartphone, can they operate computers or do cashless transactions.
All this was achieved for just ₹15 lakh, pulled out of the savings of village Sarpanch Dilip Kumar Tripathi, who was elected only last November.
Tripathi claimed he has paid for the entire digitisation exercise as it was his dream to see his village go digital. He said he didn’t use the government-provided Local Area Development fund as it contains only ₹6 lakh which cannot be diverted.
“I was determined to make my village a model smart village since my childhood. I always wanted to do something for the society, but I never got the chance. I thought that contesting the panchayat elections would be the right thing” — Sarpanch Dilip Kumar Tripathi
“I was determined to make my village a model smart village since my childhood. I always wanted to do something for the society, but I never got the chance. I thought that contesting the panchayat elections would be the right thing,” he said.
Tripathi roped in Ahmedabad-based startup Rurban Technology Solutions to execute the digital project in Hasuri. Its cofounder Sujoy Choksi told FactorDaily Rurban took up the assignment in March and a team of five completed a survey, did groundwork for the GIS map and website-building in less than two months.
Rurban was also behind the transformation of India’s first smart village, Pansuri, in Gujarat’s Sabarkantha district.
Rurban, founded in 2015, has been implementing similar programmes in other villages that come under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (MP’s Model Village Plan), which was kicked off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last quarter of 2014.
Tripathi met Pansuri’s sarpanch at a capacity-building programme for sarpanchs and panchayat secretaries in New Delhi last year and that’s how the seeds of digitisation were sown in his mind. On June 27, Tripathi gave a presentation on his smart village at the convention of Panchayati Raj ministers of all the states in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
‘Our village is like a city’
While the utility of area mapping and the exhaustive website might not be apparent yet, villagers are happy with the transformation around them. “We are the youth. Internet, Wi-Fi, cameras, that’s what we want. Our village is just like a city,” said Pradeep Kumar, a resident of Hasuri.
“We are the youth. Internet, Wi-Fi, cameras, that’s what we want. Our village is just like a city” — Pradeep Kumar, a resident of Hasuri
Besides digitisation, Tripathi has ensured that the village roads are well-maintained, the primary school and the junior school have digital classrooms, an effective waste management system is in place and the panchayat office is spic and span.
“Schools are looked after beautifully. They are equipped with facilities that can’t be found elsewhere in UP,” said Pawan Kumar, a senior citizen of Hasuri. He recalled how sanitation used to be a major problem in Hasuri, but how things have transformed. “My village will be known as a smart village today, while other villagers will witness it in another century,” he said.
The data on the website is reflective of socio-economic indicators that can help plan or execute a government scheme, but there’s no plan in place yet to integrate this data for administrative usage. However, Tripathi has made a note of this in his to-do list.
Tripathi, who deals in solar panels, said he also wants to get solar panels installed in the village to generate power, but at a later stage.
Vijay Kiran Anand, director of the Panchayati Raj Department, Uttar Pradesh, told FactorDaily he wasn’t aware of Hasuri’s digital initiative. He said if the village’s makeover story is true, it is appreciable and he would speak with the district magistrate to see what else can be done to support it.
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The ‘Tech Meets Bharat’ series brings to you stories on how technology is impacting and changing lives in hinterland India. Saurabh Sharma is a Lucknow, UP-based freelance writer and Durgesh Kumar Srivastava is a Siddharthnagar, UP-based freelance writer. Both are members of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.