No pre-paid phones in J&K
Citing security concerns, the Union home ministry has banned prepaid mobile phone services in Jammu and Kashmir, a decision that is likely to affect more than 25 lakh mobile phone users in the state, report Toufiq Rashid and Ashiq Hussain.india Updated: Oct 31, 2009 00:35 IST
Citing security concerns, the Union home ministry has banned prepaid mobile phone services in Jammu and Kashmir, a decision that is likely to affect more than 25 lakh mobile phone users in the state.
From November 1, no prepaid mobile connections should be issued and existing prepaid SIM cards should not be renewed in the state, a ministry statement said.
“The step comes in the wake of reports that proper verification is not being done while providing prepaid connections by the service providers/vendors,” the statement said.
The ministry has asked the Department of Telecommunications to take appropriate steps to implement the decision.
Of the 40 lakh mobile users in the state, 25 to 28 lakh have prepaid connections.
In September, more than 30,000 SIM cards were cancelled in the state and a dozen people, including retailers and dealers of private cellular phone companies, arrested after Crime Branch investigators discovered that many prepaid connections allegedly made it to the hands of militants.
S.C. Khanna, secretary general of the association of unified telecom service providers of India, said the ban was unjustified.
“The subscriber enrollment norms such as proof of residence and photograph are... are same in all states including J&K and they are same for prepaid and postpaid,” he said.
Umar Sultan (23), a Kashmiri student, said. “If prepaid connections weren’t a threat till now, how can they be now when violence is at an all-time low?”
Airtel, BSNL and Aircel are the major services providers in the state.
“We have 7.5 lakh prepaid customers and will give them the option of changing to postpaid,” N.N Gupta, chief general manager of BSNL, said.
(Inputs from Manoj Gairola)