Mizoram Northeast

Slow Internet connectivity; students of Mizoram University climb hills for online exams

Poor internet connectivity forced the students of Mizoram University(MZU) to climb atop hills in order to get good internet connectivity to appear for their online examination.

The electronic networks are very poor in the northeastern state.

Accessing the internet connection of various telecommunication service providers, in mountainous northeastern states and bordering areas is a herculean task.

After the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit the state, the MZU, a central varsity, is conducting online semester exams from June 1 for over 24,000 undergraduate students in various departments and courses, which would continue till June 28.

Meanwhile, the students are facing immense problem due to the poor internet connection. It turned out to be biggest hurdle for these students, especially those residing in the remote, hilly and bordering areas.

An official of MZU said, “We know the students’ problems. But various NGOs, students’ organisations and college authorities are lending a helping hand by making various makeshift and temporary arrangements in the hilltops or in the elevated locations.”

The state’s most powerful NGO and the largest civil body — Young Mizo Association (YMA) — and various students’ organisations have set up makeshift and temporary huts on the hilltops and in the high altitude areas to help students access the internet so that they can appear for their exams.

YMA President Vanlalruata said that besides the students, people in the bordering and remote areas also have to struggle a lot to get internet access to perform various tasks, including making online payments.

The makeshift huts made of bamboo, forest hemps, tree branches, banana leaves and tarpaulin have been built on the top of the hills and elevated knolls, which accommodate the temporary examination centres.

Mizoram Information and Communication Technology Minister, Robert Romawia Royte, said that the state government has been making efforts for several years to resolve its internet connectivity problems.

It has also constituted a task force to deal with the issue though it has to be resolved by the Union Ministry of Communications, Electronics & Information Technology, he said.

A senior BSNL official of the Northeast Circle-One said that currently the authority has no plans to set up new infrastructure or BTS (base transceiver station) in the northeastern states as the central authority is busy with the 4G projects.

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