Internet, SMS connectivity patchy in Kashmir Valley

Post-paid services down despite Centre’s assurance.

January 01, 2020 07:01 pm | Updated June 11, 2020 10:40 am IST - Srinagar

Image for representational purposes only

Image for representational purposes only

The J&K administration’s move to restore SMS facility did not succeed on Wednesday, as all private cellular companies, except the semi-government BSNL, could not uplink the systems.

Scores of hospitals in the Valley remained without Internet facility for most part of the day, contrary to the government’s New Year announcement to start it by Tuesday midnight after the 150-day shutdown.

Tens of thousands of users of companies like Airtel and Jio Reliance complained that the promised service was not available on their phones on Wednesday. Around 40 lakh post-paid users were promised with the restoration on the eve of the New Year.

Officials at Srinagar’s top government-run hospitals, including the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital, the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), the Bones and Joints Hospital, the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Hospital and the G.B. Pant Children hospital, said the Internet facility could not be restored by the cellular companies.

Healthcare took a major hit in both the government and the private hospitals after the government stopped Internet on August 5, the day the Centre revoked J&K’s special status. “We would share patients’ reports on WhatsAap groups to save lives of those in emergency situation. Even mobile Internet and Internet at private hospitals should be restored since they also cater to a large population,” said Irfan Ahmad, a cardiologist.

When contacted, J&K government spokesman Rohit Kansal told The Hindu , “We have issued orders for restoration of SMS on all post-paid mobile cards. BSNL has made it operational and Airtel and Jio Reliance are working towards it. They are facing technical problems not related to orders anyway. We are pushing them to restore as early as possible.” 

He said the Internet facility had been restored in 28 hospitals. “There are cases of glitches and non-payment of fee too. We are in the process of restoring others too.” 

A senior official of Airtel, on condition of anonymity, said the cellular company was alerted “very late about restoration of services”. “Systems take time to uplink the service. We are working hard to restore the service.”

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