SRINAGAR: After a record 24-week-long ban, Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday ordered the restoration of the prepaid mobile phone services in Kashmir Valley and also 2G mobile data services on post-paid mobiles for accessing the ‘whitelisted’ sites in two of its districts — Kupwara and Bandipore.
“Voice and SMS facility on all local pre-paid Sim cards across the Union Territory of J&K shall be restored on Saturday,” the government spokesman Rohit Kansal said at a press conference in Jammu.
He said that also the companies engaged in software services are being provided with fixed line internet connectivity by the service providers with the precautions that these would not be used to access social media and other sites not falling in the ‘whitelist’ prepared by the government.
The 2G mobile data services on the post-paid mobiles for accessing ‘whitelisted’ sites have been restored in all the 10 districts of Jammu division. The government had on January 15 announced the restoration of 2G mobile connectivity on post-paid mobiles in Jammu region’s five districts — Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur and Reasi — only for accessing ‘white listed’ websites such as e-banking.
Kansal reiterated that there shall be complete restriction on social media applications both in Jammu’s ten districts and the Valley’s frontier districts of Kupwara and Bandipore on mobile phones. He said, “The 2G mobile internet shall be restored also in the revenue districts of Kupwara and Bandipore of Kashmir. The service will, however, remain suspended in eight remaining districts of the Valley — Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama.”
The government earlier allowed availability of broadband facilities to all institutions providing essential services such as hospitals, banks, government offices, trade and tourism and travel establishments in the Valley.
Kansal, who is also principal secretary (planning) to the government said that the competent authority has released a list of all 153 websites that have been identified as ‘white list’ category and can be accessed through 2G mobile data services. The ‘whitelisted’ websites include four email services, including gmail and Outlook, 15 banking websites including RBI, J&K Bank, PayPal and Western Union.
Official sources said that any violation of these directions would be viewed seriously and the service providers as well as subscribers may face action. The service providers have been told to keep a tight lid on the social media websites....