Srinagar, Oct 12 : The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday announced that postpaid mobile phones of all telecom service providers will be restored in Kashmir valley from October 14, ending the 70-day-long blockade on all means of communication.
However, internet and prepaid mobile phone services of all cellular companies, including BSNL, will continue to remain suspended in Kashmir valley, where people are protesting against scrapping of Article 370 and Article 35 A on August 5.
According to data, about 40 lakh postpaid mobile phone connections will be operational from Monday in the valley, bringing much needed relief to the people and security force personnel, who would be able to contact their families.
“After reviewing the overall security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has decided to restore postpaid mobile phone services, irrespective of its telecom operator, from 12 noon on October 14. This will cover all 10 districts of Kashmir,” J&K Government spokesperson and Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal, flanked by Divisional Commissioner Baseer Khan, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir, S P Pani and Director Information Shehrish Asgar, told reporters during a press conference here on Saturday.
Mr Kansal said the restoration of the service will allow tourists to remain in touch with their families back home. “Similarly, students with be able to remain touch with their parents and traders with their partners within the valley and outside J&K.
The spokesperson also urged traders, hoteliers and businessmen not to be frightened by militants and separatists and go about their normal lives. “Any attempt to disrupt normal life will be foiled by the security forces,” he added.
Mr Kansal refused to answer a question about whether internet services will be made operational for journalists. However, when the question was reiterated during the press conference, he said the government will review the request to start the internet in some media houses.
The communication network was suspended across Kashmir valley, including Srinagar, on August 5 as a precautionary measure to prevent rumours after the special status of the state was scrapped. Suspension of the communication -- landline, mobile and internet -- network evoked sharp reaction, particularly from the families whose relatives were outside the valley.
It was in the last week of August that landlines were restored to subscribers connected with Barzulla and Sonawar telephone exchanges. Landlines phones of subscribers, including all media organizations, from main BSNL telephone exchange were restored only on September 5.
Journalists working for different local, national and international media organizations too had to taste the ban on communication. Internet service of all media organizations, including newspapers and news agencies, remained suspended since August 5. Mobile phones of all journalists also remained voiceless.
The State Information Department (SID) finally opened a “Facilitation Centre” for journalists in Sonawar area of the city from where they file stories to their respective media organizations. However, for any information from far flung and remote areas, journalists are dependent on government briefing only. Scores of media persons last week took out a protest rally in the summer capital, Srinagar, demanding restoration of their internet and mobile phones.(UNI)