PITHORAGARH: In the year 2015, a 65-year-old member of the primitive Van Rawat tribe living in remote Khirdwari village in Champawat district undertook a trek of around 18 km to reach the nearest market in Chalthi and bought a radio transistor. And with that, he ended centuries of isolation for his village and brought the world to it.
Years later, that one radio transistor remains the only medium for nearly 200 members of the tribe to remain connected to the world outside. “I vividly remember the day I got a radio, it was a momentous occasion,” recalled Raghuveer Singh (who is now 80 years old), adding, “Though I am not very educated, I like to stay abreast of current affairs.”

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‘Proposal sent to government for BSNL tower & power supply’
A s soon as I tuned to the local station that day, a wave of excitement brought an impromptu audience together for the daily bulletin. Meanwhile, the word spread and since then, my house became a favourite haunt for the villagers who gather here to listen to regional and national news,” Singh said. Virtually disconnected from society, the village is situated almost 20 km away from the nearest road head, and still has no electricity nor any public distribution shop or health care facilities.

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They eke out a living by working as labourers in nearby villages. “Even as the government talks about technology-driven development and digital revolution, we don’t even have a phone connection, let alone internet connectivity. Plus, there is no power supply, we use oil lamps to light up our homes,” said Jeet Singh, a villager. Himanshu Kafaltia, SDM at Tanakpur, said, “The district administration has sent a proposal to the government to install a BSNL tower and get proper power supply for the village.”

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