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You would have heard of multinationals unleashing a blitz of publicity to launch products in cities. But in a village? Most likely no.

For the first time in India, a village entrepreneur has decided to promote his Internet centre through launch ads.

The Internet centre, named Jan Suvidha Kendra, will formally start functioning in the Vikhas Khand office of Rampur-Mathura in Sitapur district from May 25.

But the entrepreneur, Devendra Singh, has launched a burst of publicity on Gaon Ki Awaaz, the mobile phone based audio bulletin that is broadcast twice a day to 250 subscribers living in 50 villages around Rampur-Mathura.

The launch ad that goes as a voice call to phone users has a male and female anchor alternating to promote the centre. It invites villagers to get their birth certificates, death certificates, rail reservation, downloading and filling of pension forms, payment of electricity bill etc done from the centre from May 25

In all, Devender has bought five launch ads which started running from May 16. Each ad ends with the entrepreneur asking villagers to call 9415526143, and avail the services.

Quite clearly, the entrepreneur has realised the value of taking his message to his target audience, which happens to be fellow villagers living in a ten kilometer radius of his Jan Suvidha Kendra. “The village is talking about the centre ten days before its opening,” says school teacher Divyakar.

This is a great service for villagers who till now had to queue in front of the tehsil office to get the certificates issued from the none-too-cooperative village officials.

Click here to listen to the ad broadcast on May18noon.

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Robbers broke into the historic Muralidhar temple in Rampur-Mathura village on the night of May 14, tied the priest and his helper and looted Rs 12,000 that was kept for bhandara.

The robbers, who were young in age, also took away two sacks of rice, 15 kg of pulses and other dry rations kept in the temple. Even pots and pans were not spared.

Listen to the audio bulletin broadcast on May14noon.

It is not only the city student who wants to do well. The coaching bug has bitten the rural students too.

The Rampur-Mathura students enrolled in classes nine to 12 can now join the coaching classes of Vivek Sir, and improve their maths and physics skills.

They can also join the coaching if they are preparing for competitive classes.

Listen to the ad released by Vivek Sir Coaching on May12eve.

Subhash Chand Jain, owner of Jain Pump Store in Rampur-Mathura village is the latest village merchant to climb on the Gaon Ki Awaaz bandwagon.

In an advertisement broadcast on May 5 evening the pump store owner appealed to farmers to visit the store and buy tractor parts, engine parts, boring machine hardware, tyres and tubes at concessional prices.

Listen to the advertisement broadcast on May5eve.

After the barber, it is the turn of Rehan Tailors. The village tailor has advertised on Gaon Ki Awaaz inviting villagers to visit their shop in Raja Bazar, Rampur-Mathura village to get clothes stitched at low rates.

Listen to the ad broadcast on May5noon.

Get a facial? In a village?
Yes. That’s right. A village barber has released an advertisement inviting fellow villagers to get a facial.

The advertisement was released by Riyaaz and Sartaj, owners of the Pappu Hair Cutting Saloon and Gents Beauty Parlour, on Gaon Ki Awaaz, (Village Voice), a mobile phone-based news service launched in Rampur-Mathura village of Uttar Pradesh in December 2009.

The message, which is a great example of hyperlocal advertising on mobile phones, was targeted at villagers living in and around the village, who till last year had no medium to communicate information.

The ad exhorted villagers in Avadhi, the local dialect: “Kyon shaadi ya baraat ki tayyari karni hai? To aiyee Pappu Hair cutting saloon and gents beauty parlour near Rampur-Mathura thana aur fashionable haircut aur facial karaye.” (Are you getting ready for a wedding or a Baraat (wedding) party? Then come and get a facial and fashionable hair cut done at Pappu Hair Cutting Saloon and Gents Beauty Parlour.)

This is the fifth advertisement to be released on Gaon Ki Awaaz, and another 15 have been sold. Clearly, the Indian villagers have found a channel to reach out to their fellow goaonwallas (villagers).

Says Satyendra Pratap,  the local pradhan and an ex-journalist, “The psychology is the same. Just as powerful netas (politicians) and celebrities want to see their name in newspapers or be seen on television channels so also the village merchants want their name to be heard on Gaon Ki Awaaz.”

Currently, the Gaon Ki Awaaz news bulletins are broadcast to 250 village subscribers as voice calls on their mobile phones. Several villagers switch on the speakerphone so that their friends too can listen in to the day’s news.

The news is gathered by two village reporters based in the village. It is recorded in the local dialect and broadcast twice a day – at 12 noon and at 5 pm.

Given the demand for more connections, there are plans to raise the number of subscribers.

Listen to the barber’s ad broadcast on May 3, 2010

Audio bulletins

The Gaon Ki Awaaz bulletins, which are broadcast twice a day on mobile phones, are also published on this blog. You can find the audio files, which are in Avadhi dialect, arranged date-wise under their respective months. You can also browse the English translations of selected bulletins. These are filed under their respective categories.

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