SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government had on Tuesday announced that Internet service through fixed broadband lines in all government-run hospitals and Short-Messaging-Service (SMS) facility on all mobile phones in Kashmir Valley would be restored from December 31 midnight but the service providers have failed to do so in most cases.
Only the SMS facility was made partially available on the BSNL mobile phones. The Airtel, JIO and other service providers failed to implement the government directive, citing technical issues.
However, the sources said that these companies could not restore the facilities as majority of their staff was away to celebrate New Year eve with their families and friends. An official of one of these companies said that the services would be made available by Thursday morning when the staff reports back to duty. An official of the BSNL told this newspaper privately that some of the Valley’s government-owned hospitals have been asked to clear their outstanding bills to enable it to restore the broadband facility to them.
Some officials here had termed the government’s decision of asking for restoration of broadband to the Valley hospitals and the SMS facility across boars as a ‘New Year gift’ to the people of the Valley. However, several people interviewed by this newspaper on Thursday termed it a “cruel joke” played with them on the New Year eve.
The government had as part of tough measures enforced a complete communication blackout across J&K a night before the State was stripped of its special status given under Article 370 of the Constitution and split up into two Union Territories (UTs) on August 5.
However, the landline phone services were restored, first in Jammu and then in the Valley in a phased manner weeks after these fell silent.
The mobile internet service made available to subscribers in Jammu on August 18 were withdrawn again the next day allegedly after the facility was “misused” by some people, mainly through social media. However, broadband services on fixed landline phones had begun working again in Jammu region earlier.
In the Valley, hours after the post-paid mobile service was restored on October 14, the government ordered withdrawal of SMS facility on these without signing any reason for it. Prepaid mobile phone service remains suspended in the Valley. Internet service on mobile phones was restored in Ladakh’s Kargil district last week whereas the landlocked region’s Leh district had been spared from communication blockade on August 4.
Rohit Kansal, the spokesman of the J&K government, had told media persons in winter capital Jammu on Tuesday, “It has now been decided to fully restore the service throughout Kashmir from midnight of December 31”.