DoT withdraws SMS ban order in J&K on Home Ministry's directions | delhi | Hindustan Times
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DoT withdraws SMS ban order in J&K on Home Ministry's directions

The Centre today withdrew a ban imposed on SMS services in Jammu and Kashmir within hours following strong protest from the state government on grounds that the move was an "unnecssary harassment" and the specific security issues were misunderstood.

delhi Updated: Apr 16, 2010 22:46 IST

The Centre on Friday withdrew a ban imposed on SMS services in Jammu and Kashmir within hours following strong protest from the state government on grounds that the move was an "unnecssary harassment" and the specific security issues were misunderstood.

After receiving an order from the home ministry, the Department of Telecom (DoT) on Friday evening withdrew its order issued earlier in the day asking service providers not to facilitate SMS services to post-paid subscribers.

The Jammu and Kashmir service area has over 55 lakh mobile subscribers, both in the post-paid and pre-paid categories.

Reacting sharply to the DoT's ban order, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told PTI: "We asked for banning of the bulk SMS facility, which we believe is being used to spread rumours and gossip in the name of news and also being used to cheat subscribers and such organisations are mushrooming. This request has not been understood properly (by the Centre)."

He said that while dealing with the state, the Centre should show more seriousness and understanding.

"An officer sitting in the Department of Telecommunication or the home ministry cannot decide what is right or what is wrong for the people of my state," he said.

While putting a complete ban on SMS facility for post-paid subscribers, the DoT had restricted the services to 10 SMSes per day per user for pre-paid subscribers.

The home ministry's direction to the DoT to withdraw the order regarding the SMS management in J&K service area came after Abdullah took up the issue with Home Minister P Chidambaram.

The DoT in the morning issued a directive to all the 12 operators in the state -- BSNL, Airtel, Dishnet Wireless, RCom, Vodafone, Datacom, Idea, Loop, S Tel, Sistema Shyam, Tata Teleservices and Unitech Wireless -- to furnish the necessary compliance on its order ban SMSes with Telecom Enforcement, Resource & Monitoring (TERM) Cell of J&K and send a copy to DoT by April 19, 2010.

The home ministry had late last year banned pre-paid mobile services for more than two-and-a-half months (from November 1, 2009 to January 21, 2010,) in view of security concerns. At that time also the state government had opposed the move.