No phones, television for 1.5 hours every day: Village fights gadget addiction

Amid the growing dependence of people on gadgets including mobile phones and televisions, a village in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur district has made a unique appeal to its 15,000 residents – switch off mobile phones and television sets between 7pm and 8.30pm daily and read or talk to family members.

The gram panchayat took this unanimous decision to fight gadget addiction among children, according to a report from Indian Express.

“We have all become addicted to mobile phones and televisions, resulting in problems like lack of concentration and loss of conversation between family members, further escalating into family problems,” Raju Magdum, sarpanch of Mangaon, told the publication.

While switching off televisions and mobile phones would be voluntary in the initial days, the gram panchayat plans to make this mandatory in the future.

According to the report, each household will be given five chances to comply with the guidelines. If a household violates the norm for the sixth time, an increased property tax will be imposed.

“A siren has been installed on top of the gram panchayat building with a range of 3 km. It will blow at 7 pm every day for three minutes asking the villagers to switch off electronic gadgets. Our staff as well as the gram panchayat- members will first visit houses to create awareness and ask people not to use gadgets and instead have a chat with family members or read a book,” Magdum said.

The gram panchayat has also reportedly written to cable operators in the area to suspend their services between 7 pm and 8.30 pm every day.

Interestingly, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar and Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj held the first joint conference against untouchability in this village on March 21, 1920.

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