This Article is From May 09, 2018

Kerala Coolie A Step Closer To Civil Services Dream, Used Railway WiFi To Prep

Sreenath has been earning his livelihood carrying heavy luggage at Ernakulam Junction in Kerala for the past five years.

Kerala Coolie A Step Closer To Civil Services Dream, Used Railway WiFi To Prep

Sreenath earned his livelihood by carrying heavy luggage at Ernakulam Junction. (Representational)

New Delhi: Stacks of books are routine for civil services aspirants, but for Sreenath K, a coolie who cleared the written test of the Kerala Public Service Commission, the phone and earphones are his lifeline as he studies while going about his job. Sreenath has been working as a porter at Kerala's Ernakulam station for the past five years. Deftly balancing heavy luggage on his shoulders, he listens to his digital coursework, his teachers speaking into his earpieces.

A school drop-out, Sreenath takes advantage of the free WiFi Internet service at the station. "I have appeared thrice for the exam and this is the first time I used the WiFi at the station. What I do is put on my earphones and listen to the study material as I carry the luggage or solve questionnaires in my mind. This way I can study while I work. I revise all my work at night when I get free time," said Sreenath.

Passengers get free WiFi under a government scheme launched in 2016.

Since May, at least 685 railway stations have been equipped with WiFi.

Sreenath is from Munnar, a picturesque town nestled in the Western Ghats. Ernakulam is the nearest major railway station from Munnar.

He said WiFi at the station opened up possibilities he had never thought of - reams of practice question papers, downloadable at a speed of 20-40 mbps, online examination forms, and free reading material.

If he qualifies after the interview, he is likely to be a village field assistant under the land revenue department. "I will keep studying. While I work as a coolie because I have the pressure of running my house, I will keep studying and appearing for exams. If I appear for enough exams, I am bound to get a good job," Sreenath said.

He has also applied for exams advertised recently by the railways for 62,000 posts. "What is my ideal job? A person of some authority to change things in my village maybe," he said.