After more than three months of complete blackout in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has restored internet connections of close to 100 subscribers. These subscribers include mostly companies, firms or offices associated with IT-related jobs.
All these subscribers have been asked to sign a bond agreeing to use the services strictly for business purposes.
Some of the subscribers said that they will be able to work now, while others feel their businesses continue to suffer.
“Internet has been restored for some big setups and even smaller companies like us have been given limited access points. We are able to carry out around 20 per cent of our work now,” said Kaiser Wani, an IT professional who is a partner in a small IT-based firm in Rangret industrial area of Srinagar.
Wani’s associate Sheikh Showkat said that they have suffered immensely due to the internet blackout. “Our businesses have taken a major hit. We don’t know how long we can survive, “said Showkat.
Those who have been allowed to use the internet signed an ‘Undertaking for usage of internet’. The bond directs the subscribers to not use any Wifi and social networking and share all the contents and infrastructure of the internet as and when required by the security set up.
It essentially means that the subscriber will have to provide all details related to his IP address whenever required. “This limited access to only a few is not going to solve anything. There are lakhs of people associated with IT work,” said Tajamul a local businessman.
The government also plans to provide internet services to tourism-related agencies and firms in a gradual manner.
The tourism sector has also been one of the worst-hit because of the blanket ban on internet services.
“This year, it has been a big loss to all of us. Some activity had started now but everyone in our sector is suffering due to the blackout”, said Hafeez Shala, a tour operator.
Ahead of the major decision of scrapping Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories, the authorities blocked the internet services, landline and mobile communication services.
While the landlines and post-paid connections were restored in October, the ban on the internet and prepaid mobile phones continue.