10/10/2006

What can technology do?

What can technology do? Well, it can almost do anything..even enable people to play games with neurological signals as was recently proved by a group of scientists from Washington University who translated neurological signals from a young man and then connected an Atari Video game to a computer that could process these signals. Amazing, isn't it?

Getting subjects to move objects using only their brains has implications towards someday building biomedical devices that can control artificial limbs, for instance, enabling the disabled to move a prosthetic arm or leg by just thinking about it. This is surely interesting, but there is something else that happened in our India that amazed me even more!

Ever wonder what technology does for a farmer in India? If you are a part of that world, you would surely know that technology and farmers are never even talked about in the same sentence. Setting up e-Seva service centers in villages was a big thing...Farmers didn't despise technology, they just didn't know it...But, so is not the case in

Raigad district (Maharashtra): Roughly 140 kilometre from Mumbai, farmers are turning to technology to fight for their rights.

Four months ago, the farmers of Pen taluka in Raigad district were told the state government was acquiring their land to help build the 25,000 acre Maha Mumbai Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

That's when an activist of the SEZ Hatao Virodh Samiti, Arun Shivkar, logged on to Google Earth and used it to prove to the authorities that the land was fertile.

Shivkar says initially state authorities claimed that only a small portion of the earmarked land was fertile and that some parts of it was submerged by salty creek water, meaning lower compensation for the farmers.

But Google Earth came to the rescue and its satellite pictures clearly indicated crop areas. This helped the farmers back their claims for higher compensation.

This technology has also brought together farmers from 45 villages to put up a common front and protest the acquisition of their land.

The ingenious ways in which farmers in Maharashtra are using Google Earth to fight for their rights is perhaps a testament to how technology can really help us in more than obvious ways.

Well, I have used Google Earth to see satellite pics of my apartment, pics of Eiffel tower etc, other saner people have used it in local weather forecasts, traffic congestion reports, discovering hidden ancient villages etc, but using it to settle a dispute with the government is a masterstroke, and this being done by villagers just adds to the delight!

1 Comments:

At 7:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read through all your posts soon as I became aware of the existence of your long awaited blog.

My take: This is your best post so far. Keep the blog rolling... :-)

Vajheshwarrao

 

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