September 2016 News

Pvt Telecom Companies Mulling To 'Shut' Operations In Valley

17 September 2016
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: Private telecommunication companies operating in Kashmir Valley are mulling to 'shut' their operations in wake of huge losses incurred by them during the ongoing unrest. The companies are holding state government responsible for the 'mess' and are accusing it of adopting dual standards, allowing state owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to function while prohibiting private companies from providing services to the subscribers.All the private telecommunication companies including Bharti Airtel, Aircel, Vodafone, Idea and Reliance will convene a joint meeting outside the State where a final decision will be taken in this regard. Sources added that despite repeated requests from the officials of these companies to the Mehbooba Mufti led Jammu and Kashmir Government; the authorities didn't show any keenness to lift the ban on the mobile internet and phone services, resulting in the huge losses to these private companies.Pertinently, since July 9- a day after Hizb militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with government forces in South Kashmir, government has banned the mobile internet and after a month it allowed private companies to restore only outgoing call facilities that too was snapped a day before the Eid-ul-Azah. The government move has not only added hardships to the common people but also affected the private telecom companies. 'We lost subscribers in thousands since July 9. We are barred from providing services to the subscribers while state owned BSNL was exempted from Government ban and it was even allowed to issue new mobile connections to the affected people,' said an official from a telecommunication company who confirmed that company bosses are mulling to shut their operations in Kashmir.Another official said that they have been suffering on account of government decision that has proven counterproductive. 'Not only telecommunication companies but subscribers have also incurred losses. Who will re-pay those subscribers who had recharged their cell phones prior to the unrest? Hundreds of people associated with telecom sector will lose jobs in case these companies shut their operations in Valley,' he said.Subscribers have been accusing PDP-BJP coalition government of being callous and insensitive towards the problems of common people. 'Snapping internet service is simply harassment and it has nothing to do information blockade. Due to internet ban the newspaper industry has also suffered. 'There is no fun in snapping internet service. If government thinks their move is aimed at to block the information then it is living in a fool's paradise because information through one or the other channel keeps on passing from person to person,' newspaper said.A People's Democratic Party MLC who wished not to be named admitted that it is a sheer harassment. 'I myself fail to understand what this government is up to and why it is putting people especially youth in trouble. Snapping internet and mobile service is human rights violation and government must stop banning these services frequently,' he said and added that frequent ban on internet depicts the weakness of the government.General Manager BSNL said they were following government orders. 'We will restore the service if government directs us to do so,' he said.