Nation Current Affairs 01 Jan 2020 Kashmir's ' ...

Kashmir's 'restored' SMS a 'New Year Eve joke'?

DECCAN CHRONICLE | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published Jan 1, 2020, 11:28 pm IST
Updated Jan 1, 2020, 11:29 pm IST
Service providers fail to reactivate broadband and SMS services because of 'unpaid bills' and 'absent staff'
A man checks his cellphone outside a media facilitation centre in Srinagar on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. Authorities said they would restore text messaging services in the region on Wednesday, almost five months after New Delhi downgraded the state's autonomy and imposed a strict security and communications lockdown. (AP Photo)
 A man checks his cellphone outside a media facilitation centre in Srinagar on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. Authorities said they would restore text messaging services in the region on Wednesday, almost five months after New Delhi downgraded the state's autonomy and imposed a strict security and communications lockdown. (AP Photo)

Srinagar: The Jammu & Kashmir government announced restoration of internet services through fixed broadband lines in all government hospitals and SMS facility on all mobile phones in the Kashmir Valley from the mdinight of December 31 but service providers failed to make it a reality in most cases.

Only the SMS facility was made partially available on BSNL mobile phones. Service providers like Airtel, Jio and others did not implement the goveNLofficial told Deccan Chronicle that some government-owned hospitals in the Kashmir Valley have been asked to clear their outstanding bills if broadband facilities were to be restored to them.

While some officials in Srinagar puffed up the government’s decision to restore broadband and SMS services in hospitals as a ‘New Year gift’ to the people of the Valley, several people interviewed by Deccan Chronicle termed it a “cruel joke” played on them on New Year Eve.

The government enforced a complete communication blackout across Jammu & Kashmir a night before the state was stripped of its special status given under Article 370 of the Constitution and split up into two Union Territories (UTs) on August 5. However, landline phone services were restored, first in Jammu and then in the Valley, a few weeks later.

Mobile internet was made available to subscribers in Jammu on August 18 but withdrawn again the next day, allegedly after the facility was “misused” by some people, mainly through the social media.

In the Kashmir Valley, post-paid mobile services were restored on October 14, but only hours later the government ordered, without giving any reason, withdrawal of the SMS facility. Prepaid mobile phone services remain suspended in the Valley. Internet service on mobile phones was restored in Ladakh’s Kargil district last week. The landlocked region’s Leh district had been spared from the communication blockade on August 4.

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