JUMLA, Oct 18: Gone are the days when Lal Bhadur Buda from Pansaya of Malika Thanta used to walk a whole day to go to Khalanga just to make a call to his son, who was studying in Surkhet.
Travelling was not just the problem. He used to spend another whole day on the queue at the telephone booth waiting for his turn to call. The cost was very high. He still recalls that he used to pay between Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 to make a call every time.
The same kind of story was told by Krishna Buda from Ghodemahadev. He used to walk for one week to reach Khalanga to make a phone call to his brother by Public Communication Office (PCO).
Many people in the remote areas used to have a similar story. Phone service was extremely limited and available only at few government agencies including the District Development Council (DDC) and District Administration Office (DAO).
DDC had been providing service of PCO. General public used to suffer disproportionately as influential persons and businessmen used to get priority.
The scenario is now completely different. “We can easily make a call to friends and relatives living abroad from home or wherever we want,” Lal Bahadur Buda shared his experience with a smile.
Different kinds of technology and services have developed in Karnali region. Now, it is just a matter of seconds to get connected with family members and relatives.
Satellite phone, VSAT, was first launched in Jumla in 2001. A landline phone service started in Jumla in2005. It facilitated to make phone calls easy from Khalanga Bazar. But, it was still hard for the locals to make phone calls.
In 2007, mobile phone entered the area, displacing the landline phone service. Now, everyone has mobile phones. So they can communicate whenever they want.
“Mobile phone service has connected the local market and international market,” said Ramdatta Rawal, president of FNCCI, Jumla. He added, “The price of daily essentials can be easily updated daily through phone call.”
One thousand landlines have been distributed in Khalanga, the district headquarters of Jumla. Nepal Telecom is distributing more than 4000 sim cards annually. More than 3000 Sky Phone services are being used. According to Nepal Telecom branch office of Jumla, there is the demand for more than 700,000 sim cards every year.
Every age group of people carries mobile phone. Cheap and portable mobile sets have made it easier to connect relatives of locals who are outside the district. Cell phones are also used for other purposes like listening to audio, video, and radio. Nepal Telecom has been providing internet services (ADSL) since July 2011. The villagers have also been using third generation (3G) services being provided by Nepal Telecom.
In the recent time, internet users have visibly increased in the district. People come to cyber cafes to use Viber and Skype for video chatting with relatives who are either outside the district or abroad for jobs.
It took one year for the news of establishment of democracy to reach Jumla in 1951. Now it has drastically changed the scenario of the transmission of information. People get the information about the happenings around the world in few seconds.