The government on Monday talked tough with the mobile operators on apparently not being diligent about subscriber verification in Jammu and Kashmir and warned them that their services may be closed in case of non-compliance of guidelines.
Home Secretary GK Pillai met the CEOs and MDs of seven telecom firms -- Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Tata Teleservices, RCom, Idea, Vodafone and BSNL -- and asked them to complete the verification of all subscribers within a week.
Sources said, Pillai informed the operators that success rate is just 50-80 per cent and asked them to ensure that there is strict compliance of instructions issued by the Department of Telecom in January this year.
The Home Ministry had asked security agencies to conduct a secret audit of whether the telecom operators were following the revised guidelines.
It was found that out of a sample of 500 mobile phones, the verification norms were violated in 65 per cent of the cases, thus raising security concerns.
Even on bulk SMSes, sources said the mobile firms were found violating the guidelines in the state.
The DoT, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, had issued guidelines about six months ago directing mobile operators to complete the process of subscriber verification in a time-bound manner in view of the security concerns.
Sources said that progress on this front has been extremely slow and the security agencies have expressed concerns on this front.
It can be recalled that use of mobile telephony in the troubled states has been a matter of concern, with the Centre banning the use of pre-paid mobile services on the pretext that the service was being misused by terrorists.
According to sources, the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the telecom companies to complete verification of post-paid subscribers within seven days of the connection.
While for the pre-paid users, the ministry said that all formalities for subscriber verification should be completed immediately without any further delay.
The fresh guidelines had stated that though no customer will be given more than one pre-paid or post-paid connection, but if an individual desires to avail more connections, he will have to give reasons for it.
Under no circumstances will one household in the state be entitled to more than six connections, it had said.
The government asked the operators to ensure that there is strict compliance of these guidelines, sources said.