Ban on STD services hits security personnel in J&K
4 January 2002
The Times of India
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
SRINAGAR: While locals in Jammu and Kashmir are up in arms against the government decision to snap STD and ISD services in the state, the worst victims of the decision seem to be the security personnel deployed there. ''We used to remain in touch with our families through STD and a call home once a week kept us informed of welfare of our people,'' a security official on duty at Lal Chowk here, said. He said ''we are working in a tense situation in Kashmir. We do not know when the terrorists will strike. But we felt relaxed when we spoke to our people back home''. Snapping of the facility abruptly came as a shock to the security personnel as it was done at a time when tension at the border increased and families back home were worried, said Babu Ram, a securityman, hoping that the government would make alternate arrangements for the jawans. The decision to suspend for an indefinite period STD, ISD services and withdrawal of Internet facility by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) across the state recently evoked strong resentment from traders, business houses and the public call office (PCO) operators in the Valley. Kashmir Traders Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) said that the move would render thousands of youths jobless.In the absence of government jobs for the educated youth, parents of thousands of youth had set up PCOs to keep them busy and enable them earn something, but the decision has rendered them jobless, KTMF said. The move speaks about government''s insensitivity towards the hardship which people would face due to the ban, said KTMF chairman Farooq Ahmad Shah. Lawyers in the Valley have also termed snapping of the communication links as ''illegal''.