Global Himachalis seek to impact govt policies online
HEM LATA VERMA
SHIMLA, OCTOBER 2, Monday, 2006, Indian Express
IN a first of its kind initiative, Himavani.com — a website that has over 400 Himachalis worldwide as its lifeline — has set out with an intention to influence the government’s policies in Himachal Pradesh so that their implementation has a definite trickle-down effect to the common people.
Acting as a think tank for the state, the brains behind the dream project believe in finding solutions to the problems that are highlighted on the site by grassroots journalists. The web site gives a platform to Himachalis to voice their views in the form of write-ups.
Suriender Dhalieta, one of the members of the team that has nurtured it, says, “This is a completely voluntary nonprofit venture. The site is four months old, yet with over 10,000 unique page views till now it would not be wrong to say that it has reached out to many people who crave for information on Himachal.” In its first direct interface with Himachali folks the web site and some of the people behind it made their presence felt at the three-day trade fair Utsaav-2006 and a seminar for the disabled in Shimla.
The website’s first impact as Dhalieta explains was made by an email written to Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh giving a suggestion on maintaining hygiene at the dhabas on the Kalka-Shimla highway.
“We received a reply from the CM’s office and we were assured of definite action on the suggestion,” he said.
The site has over 80 writeups contributed by teachers, students, doctors, journalists, IT professionals, engineers and writers from across the world. And the issues that they have touched include education for destitute children, rehabilitation of the disabled, the industrial revolution in HP, transportation, innovative Himachalis, education initiatives in government schools, tradition, folklore and much more. Three years down the line the group plans to take the IT revolution to the rural Himachal through E-Choupals that facilitate getting answers for people’s queries.