Kathirimalai village, is a quiet and peaceful tribal hamlet in the Bargur Hills located in the in Anthiyur Panchayat Union inside the Chennampatti forest range in Erode Forest Division and has 134 voters. It has only solar lights lights without telecom connectivity and can be reached only on foot (4 hrs trek) from Kathiripatti at Kolathur in Salem district. People have to travel kilometers to collect their basic ration goods. effort. There are 30 students in the same class room.
The village, located nearly 81 km away from Erode, is at an altitude of 1040 meters and only mode of transportation to it is by Bobtail tractors. To help tribals, the District Rural Development Agency, (DRDA) teamed up with NABARD and Centre for Social Computing (C4S) as the technology partner to connect the village with long distance high speed wifi network project (Punnagai) to provide telemedicine facilities and set up smart education at the ST residential school.
C4S uses its indigenously developed technology and provides long distance Wi-Fi connectivity to the remote village helping establishment of telemedicine clinic which could help medical consultation across TN and provide basic medicine, first aid etc. Dr. Parthibhan, Govt. Primary Health Centre, will counsel locals through it from 5 to 6 pm on every Wednesday.
The project aims to stop malnutrition, anemic and neonatal deaths.The smart Study Centre at the school has successfully established tele-education system reducing sharp reduction in school drop-out. Currently, 35 students are studying from 1 to 8th Std. The online learning classes are at par with urban standards. The tribal children see the outside world through the big computer screen set up in the school. Today they interact with teachers from all over the world.
The project is implemented thanks to the efforts Collector H Krishnanunni, DRDA PD L Madhubalan and Nabard DDM Ashok Kumar. The DRDA already started working with C4S to replicate the connectivity technology in other hamlets to ensure health and education for tribals.