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It's a boon for people

Special Correspondent



MAIDEN INTERACTION: (From left) Speaker of the Assembly Krishna, Chairman of the Legislative Council V.R. Sudarshan and Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Basavaraj Horatti at the launch of `V-Darpan' at the Legislators' Home in Bangalore o n Wednesday. — Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash

Bangalore: People in rural areas need no longer wait for their elected representatives to visit them to listen to their requests and grievances. Every taluk headquarters may soon be linked to a privately operated video conferencing network, `V-Darpan.'

Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Krishna inaugurated the first kiosk at the Legislators' Home here on Wednesday. The first user was Chairman of the Legislative Council V.R. Sudarshan who interacted with journalists in Mysore. The questions were as pointed and replies as witty as if they were face to face in the Vidhana Soudha.

All this happened at the Bangalore Media Centre set up by the city-based 21st Century Information Technology Pvt. Ltd. The technology comes from Iqara Enterprises of the U.K.

The company says the first kiosk is dedicated to the use of legislators because many complain the issues raised by them in the legislature regarding their constituencies do not always find place in the media. It is also not easy for journalists in the districts to immediately get to know what is happening in the Vidhana Soudha. Now, legislators can overcome this time and distance barrier.

V-Darpan video conferencing kiosks are to come up soon at bus stations, railway stations and airports and at places such as banks where there could be many users. The company plans to set up 800 kiosks across Bangalore so that the main street in every neighbourhood may have one by the end of the year. The service may cost around Rs. 3 per minute, compared to what is charged by other private and public service providers, the company says.

V-Darpan is in the process of negotiating with the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike and other government offices to provide the service if space is given for kiosks. Another sector the company is looking at are colleges and universities. Parents seeking admission for their wards in Bangalore may have the option of video conferencing with university or college authorities through kiosks on the camps.

Families are expected to make use of the kiosks too, to interact with relatives far away. Even traditional marriages may get arranged this way, without the families travelling to each other's hometowns.

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