Thoughts on Rails

Riding the Train of Thought

From Free Electricity… Towards a Free Internet…

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News Flash: The Government of Maharashtra State has declared that electricity will be free for farmers.

Great! Now it's a good reason why I should get a generator or better, wind of solar energy harvesters… farmers have been stealing the electricity and causing enough load imbalance by running old, unmaintained electric pumps and other heavy appliances. Every now and then the lights go off because of “load shedding”.

I'm sure the farmers will be glad that they will not have to even think twice before plugging in that electricity hogging machine again! It's not that the farmers in this state are very poor, most of the farmers who afford to buy an electric motor already have enough money to pay for their bills. This whole issue, sadly, seems to be another political stunt as a counter measure to another party which was hoping to win elections with the claim that they would provide free electricity to the farmers.

Well… now that they have finally approved it, I really wish they also give free Internet to all people working with computers… after all, aren't the people in the computer fields bringing money to the country by truckloads?? As a student of Computer Science and a potential 'heavy duty earning machine' why should'nt I be provided with free Internet? I have to save up all my work for the day and then stay awake late at night just to save on the bills!!

Add to it the lack of good ISPs and bandwidth options. Currently we have dialup dominant in the city, the only broader-band option is through a CDMA phone… 'upto' 115 kilo bits per second. I am yet to verify how far of the 'upto' does it really go. And yes, the regular dialup is capped and crapped. I usually get 4 kBytes average – from 12 AM to 4 AM, otherwise the speeds are realy bad – as less as 0.5 kBytes, due to which I rarely log-on during tthe day.

My studies are hampered because of this odd schedule that I have to live by, just for the sake of Internet. Doesn't the Government think of this as a waste of it's valuable resources – educated people? Alright now you're thinking that I'm selfish or something X) It's not just me it's a few thousand or more such people. I have already talked to a few hundred – in college, while travelling, through friends – people who either live by an unhealthy schedule or people who wished they could use the Internet and learn more.

And about the farmers who need electricity, they were getting it for free anyway!! Maybe next time I visit a farm, I'll try to grab a picture of wire-hooks dangling from the main power lines. It's dangerous and it's illegal – but rarely anyone notices.

Same was case when I lived outside the city, in a village – very close to the city. The lights used to go out at any hour, a phone to the local office used to fetch some rude comments and an enquiry as to who I am, what's the address, phone number etcetra… then after 30 minutes the lights would (hopefully) come back if it was within the 8 hour duty time, otherwise I'd have to wait till the other day for the lights to come back. Reason? The villagers mostly use stolen electricity – metal hooks with wires attached, directly connected to high-wattage bulbs and electric stoves… once I mentioned that to the office, only to be told by the official, “do a survey and inform us who exactly is stealing the electricity.”. Neat! Now I am supposed to do the policing after paying my bills!!

I later found out the reason why the official said that – these 'poor' people who cannot aford electricity steal it, and when the officials go to check and warn, these people gang up and beat them. If I remember correctly, one person also got killed in simillar incident in some city. Yet, the government wishes to give it free.

Then why not the Internet?

We have been paying the bills till today, and we don't beat up anyone if they ask for bills! But on second thoughts, maybe we should! So that sometime later, the Government gives up on making us pay bills and starts giving Internet for free X) (Don't try this at home)

Let the fun continue…


Written by hiway

August 8, 2004 at 12:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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