Digital divide bridged but CIC staff stranded says All Assam CIC Operators’ Association,
Posted by egovindia on June 29, 2006
Digital divide bridged but CIC staff stranded
June 28: Employees of the Community Information Centres (CICs) in this Lower Assam district are facing an uncertain future despite Dispur’s policy to upgrade the administration with e-governance facilities and bridge the rural-urban digital divide.
The CIC project under the ministry of communication and information technology was launched in Dhubri in August 2002 with the aim of connecting the geographically isolated northeastern states and Sikkim through information and communication technology services.
There are 487 CICs in the seven northeastern states and Sikkim. Of these, 219 are in Assam.
A source in the Dhubri CIC said the five-year project funded by the Centre would be completed in the stipulated period. But in the absence of any policy adopted by the state government, CIC operators are facing an uncertain future.
Ashraful Islam, secretary of Dhubri district unit of the All Assam CIC Operators’ Association, said the concept of CICs had received an overwhelming response from everybody despite Dhubri being a socio-economically backward area.
Dhubri has 14 CICs and 28 employees. In the past three years and 10 months since their inception, the CICs have become popular with people in the rural areas.
Islam said since CICs were set up across the district, over 83,000 users had used Internet services.
He said 2,004 people had so far been trained in computer fundamentals and advance courses by the CICs. The centres earned revenue to the tune of Rs 14,15,151 till March 31, 2006.
The downside is that the services of CIC operators, who deserve the most credit for the success of the project, continue to be employed on contractual basis for five years.
“This makes our future and the project very uncertain. In order to get a fair deal from the Centre as well as the state government, the state-level association submitted a memo to the Assam governor and we from Dhubri district handed a memorandum to agriculture minister Pramila Rani Brahma, recently,” Islam said.
The operators are demanding regularisation of services either under the Assam government or the Union ministry of communication and information technology.