Nearly 80 per cent of the 1.65 crore pre-paid mobile users in the North East face the possibility of losing their connections as they are yet to submit their documents for the re-verification process which comes to an end on Wednesday.
“We had almost completed the re-verification process by the last date of December 31, when a fresh directive came from the ministry about the acceptability of documents as per the guidelines followed in Jammu and Kashmir,” a spokesperson of a leading service provider said.
A survey by the service provider here found that with the last date tomorrow for re-verification, only a few mobile users have submitted the required documents.
The documents required are driving licence, pan card, arms licence, bank or post office passbooks with photograph and address and passport.
Most of the permissible documents are difficult to procure particularly for those residing in rural areas, while voters have not been issued voters I—card in the region after 2008.
For students the mandatory documents will be a certificate by government educational institutions which will deprive thousands of students studying in the private sector from having a mobile connection.
While it is a huge task to re-verify with the existing manpower, it is another difficult job to explain to customers about the fresh guidelines, the survey said.
Requesting the department of telecommunication to allow six additional months time up to July to complete the process, the survey said that most customers otherwise will not be able to use their mobile connections in the absence of the required documents.
“It is important that the list of documents be revised to include local documents such as those issued by the gram panchayats or its equivalent authority and caste and domicile certificates issued by the state governments in the region or the voters I card issued prior to 2008,” it said.
The survey also points out to the need for allowing roaming services between other parts of the country.
Although partial roaming has been allowed inside the NE region, most tourists with prepaid connections find their mobile connections disrupted.
“Roaming services should be allowed to all pre-paid customers so that they stay connected and this will be definitely provide a significant boost to tourism,” the survey said.
“Mass disconnection will lead to untold hardships for the common man. Many students who live in hostels will not be able to provide address proofs,” feared student Sushil Kumar Roy who hails from Silchar and resides at a hostel here.
“Most students are with private educational institutions. How will they get a government certificate for their identity and address?” he asked.