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Shocking; Cellular companies ask Valley subscribers to pay for gaged period
Is JK Admin playing proverbial Ostrich?
10/14/2019 10:23:33 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Oct 14: After remaining shut for more than two months, cellular companies on Monday shocked lakhs of their subscribers, asking them to clear pending bill, generated during the gag period, to use the voice call services. On Monday, Jammu and Kashmir administration lifted the gag it has imposed on mobile telephony more than two and a half months ago on August 5 when the union government decided to scrap Article 370.
Now when after more than two months had passed and the government finally decided to lift the gag, the cellular companies seem to have been acting as s spoilsport by asking their subscribers to clear the bills generated during the gag period.
On Monday, when every post paid cell phone user was anxious awaiting to see his phone turning functional again, thousands of them were taken aback when they tried to make calls and they were asked by the automated voice to clear the pending bills before using the voice call service. "This is unprecedented, unethical and unnatural. How could the companies ask us to pay the bills for the period when we didnt even use the services. How could these business houses be so erratic and irrational?," asked Mubeen Ahmad, a old city resident who was desperately trying to make call to his younger brother, studying at present in Punjab.
There were several others who asked the government to intervene and stop this open plunder of peoples' money. "One wonders that what is the government really doing. Is it not in knowledge of the fact that the mobile users didnt use the cell phone services for more than two months. How come the cell phone companies ask its subscribers to pay the bills fo the gag period. This should have been resolved by the government ahead of restoring the communications in Kashmir. Or else this could be safe to assume that the government is hand in glove with these companies who are looting people with absolute impunity," says another aggrieved cell phone user who has been asked to pay more than 450 rupees as a bill generated in August and September.
Pertinently, The Cellular Operators Association of India an amalgam of GSM mobile players, had revealed that the overall telecom industry operating in the valley suffers the loss of Rs 2 crores on daily basis when the calling and data services are suspended. The present communication gag is longest in a decade. "In 2016, internet was suspended in Kashmir for 133 days but V-Sat, landline broadband and lease lines were operational. This time, the case is different at all. There is a complete blackout this time around.
According to a recent study conducted by International Council on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) which states that, "The anatomy of the internet blackout: Measuring the economic impact of internet shutdowns in India has stated in their study that 34 internet shutdowns in the year 2017 caused losses worth 1776 crores to the valleys economy.
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