Postpaid mobile phone services likely to resume in Kashmir from Monday

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Restrictions were imposed 73 days ago in Jammu and Kashmir when the Centre abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution. Photo: PTI.

Postpaid mobile services, which were slated to resume on Saturday (October 12) in Kashmir, are likely to begin from Monday, a major step towards easing curbs in the state, officials said.

Restrictions were imposed 69 days ago after the Centre abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

The announcement regarding the postpaid mobile services will be made by the state administration on Saturday, they said.

The 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 about 7 million residents of the Valley.

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

However, it has now been decided to go the whole hog by allowing operationalisation of all postpaid phones run by all operators and numbering around 40 lakh subscriber. This will leave out about 26 lakh prepaid mobile subscribers.

The services were likely to be resumed Saturday but a last minute technical hitch led to postponing of the resumption of services.

The subscribers will have to, however, wait for some more time for the Internet services to resume in the valley, they said.

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.

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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.

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