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Updated: January 3, 2010 19:47 IST

J&K pre-paid mobile ban likely to go by Jan. 15

PTI
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In this November 11, 2009 photo members of the Kashmir Traders' Association shout slogans in Srinagar during a protest march against the ban on pre-paid mobile connections.
PTI
In this November 11, 2009 photo members of the Kashmir Traders' Association shout slogans in Srinagar during a protest march against the ban on pre-paid mobile connections.

The ban on pre-paid mobile phone service in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be lifted by January 15.

The Centre is finalising a “fool-proof” plan to ensure proper verification of nearly 38 million cell phone subscribers in the State, official sources said here on Sunday.

The Department of Telecom will file an affidavit this week in the Supreme Court about the measures being implemented by the government to ensure effective verification of the customer who purchases a pre-paid mobile number in the State, the sources said.

They said while the procedure was being given final touches, it was expected that the ban may be lifted from January 15.

The Supreme Court had on December 15 granted two weeks to the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government to respond to a petition filed by Panthers Party Chief Bhim Singh challenging the ban on pre-paid mobile phone services in the state.

The matter would come up for hearing on January 8. The Union Home Ministry had imposed a ban on pre-paid mobile phone services on November 1, 2009 and Home Minister P. Chidambaram had recently said that if the service providers come up with a fool-proof plan of 100 per cent verification and the Ministry was satisfied with it then the issue may be revisited.

The government had ordered that no fresh pre-paid mobile connections be issued in Jammu and Kashmir and existing pre-paid SIM cards should not be renewed after November 1 due to reasons of security.

The DoT has been burning midnight oil with the telecom operators after the State Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took up the matter with the Centre and asked them to work out a solution at the earliest.

The State government had favoured a policy soon for the telecom operators for resuming pre-paid mobile services in the State which should include stringent action besides financial penalties for firms not complying with verification process.

The State maintained that it did not have any issue over the pre-paid ban and they wanted the telecom operators to behave in a disciplined manner.

The State government feels mere imposition of financial penalty was not helping security agencies and a law needs to be formulated under which stringent action could be taken against erring officials, besides imposing a financial burden on the telecom operators, the sources said.

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