Postpaid mobile phone services restored in Kashmir

Postpaid mobile phone services to resume in Kashmir
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval interacts with the locals while reviewing security situation in Shopian, J&K. Photo: PTI

Srinagar: In a major step in easing the 72 days lockdown in the Kashmir valley, the Jammu and Kashmir administration restored all postpaid mobile phone services from Monday.

Restrictions were imposed after the Centre on August 5 abrogated the state's special status and bifurcated it into Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, which will come into being on October 31.  

Some 40 lakh postpaid mobile phones have become operational from Monday noon.

The services were planned to be resumed on Saturday but a last-minute technical hitch led to deferring of the resumption of services. The subscribers will have to, however, wait for some more time for Internet services to resume in the Valley, officials said.

The state administration has been examining various options with regard to suspension of mobile phone services which have come in for severe criticism for causing hardships to some seven million residents of the Valley. 

At one point it was planned to open only BSNL services followed by allowing activating only incoming calls run by private telecom operators.

The move comes barely days after the Centre issued an advisory opening the Valley for tourists. Travel association bodies had approached the administration, saying that no tourist would like to come to the valley where no mobile phones working.

The mobile services in Jammu and Kashmir were shut down on August 5 after the Centre announced in New Delhi the abrogation of the special status guaranteed to the state under Article 370 of the Constitution.

Partial fixed-line telephony was resumed in the valley on August 17, and by September 4 all landlines, numbering nearly 50,000, were declared operational.

In Jammu, the communication system was restored within days of the blockade and even mobile Internet was started around mid-August. However, after its misuse, the Internet facility on cellular phones was snapped on August 18.