India’s Anil Chaudhary, an umpire in ICC’s international panel, is now a hero in his ancestral village in Muzaffarnagar District of Uttar Pradesh after he managed to resolve the longstanding problem of communication amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Chaudhary, who was supposed to officiate in the India-South Africa ODI series before the pandemic set in, left for his native village Dangrol in UP on March 15 planning to stay for a week.
However, with the nationwide lockdown being enforced, he had to stay put in his village. With zero mobile network coverage in Dangrol, life almost came to a standstill for the 55-year-old.
Be it ICC’s online programs for umpires or speaking to his loved ones in Delhi, Chaudhary had to walk more than half a kilometer into the paddy fields, climb a tree beside a tubewell, and then get some network (if fortunate enough).
However, the harrowing exercise exists no more after a telecom company contacted him and set up a mobile tower in his village.
“I never imagined this initiative would be so beneficial for our village. There is a professor from Jalandhar who is now able to take classes. Students are happy because now they do not have to sit in the fields, fight mosquitoes, and attend online classes,” Chaudhary told indianexpress.com over phone.
Ramkumar, a native of the village, who runs a small bank transaction unit, used to struggle to transfer money but is now happy after the start of the new tower. “Earlier, it used to take three-four days to transfer money, now it takes just few hours,” he said.
“I would like to thank umpire Chaudhary for his initiative. He is a hero to us. Amidst the pandemic, this is a small issue but it has helped us a long way. Our panchayat member Manish Chauhan and local MLA Tejinder Narwal spoke to Jio network who got the job done and we all thank them for making life a lot easier for all of us here,” he added.
For umpire Chaudhary, the gratitude and blessings are more than enough.
“Now they are asking me to resolve all their other problems. But I told them I am only an umpire,” Chaudhary laughed before signing off.