Categories: Goa News

Lack of mobile towers isolating Loutolim villagers

ROQUE DIAS | NT

Margao

Two mobile towers stand tall in the village of Loutolim but despite their presence, the villagers struggle for mobile phone connectivity, thanks to the local ‘politics’ and the difference of opinion among villagers in connection with the mobile towers.

Many helpless villagers are compelled to go up the Loutolim hill (Monte hill) to connect with their loved ones over phone so as to make the best use of the wave frequency of the neighbouring Borim mobile phone tower.

While one of the two existing towers in Loutolim provides limited service, the other one is non-functional and in an abandoned situation in Devotees ward of Loutolim. A source said that on an average, 10-15 mobile phone users are found regularly on the Loutolim hill area. And this is not the only issue the villagers face.

The village lacks 108 ambulance service at the Loutolim health centre and regular KTC buses plying through the village. As a result, rushing patients to the Goa Medical College and Hospital (GMC) during emergencies is a major issue. Besides, there is a problem of water scarcity in some areas of the village. However, many villagers feel that all these issues may not impact the votes during the Lok Sabha election, as majority of the village voters are Congress sympathisers. The village has a history of embracing non-BJP candidates and this time too, there could be a negligible change in the voting pattern, as the number of silent voters is very low.

The Loutolim health centre does not have 108 service ambulance even though the health department had reportedly sanctioned one. Water crisis haunts the villagers staying in the areas of Devotees and Rassaim. The number of migrants in the village has risen to around 4,000, while the locals are slowly moving abroad making for a worrisome picture of the village, which has nearly 7,000 voters.

The issues of increasing number of migrants, illegal constructions, illegal sand extraction, lack of proper roads and Rassaim jetty upgradation agonise many locals of Loutolim.

“We want improved mobile connectivity. Loutolim is totally disconnected and isolated in the absence of mobile service in an era where we are focusing on digitalisation,” said shopkeepers located near Loutolim church Raju Naik and Joaquim Gracias.

Contrasting with their view, Jose Gracias, who has complained to the village panchayat about a mobile tower, said that the mobile service providers must complete all the formalities and then install the mobile towers. “There cannot be shortcuts here,” he said. Difference of opinion among the locals on the presence of mobile towers and opposition from some villagers has compelled a mobile service provider to move away equipment from mobile tower and use it elsewhere, thus leaving the village disconnected.

 

nt

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