Kashmir residents go to Banihal to use the Internet, convert prepaid SIM cards to postpaid

BANIHAL/JAMMU: along the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, it has been working with activities during the last month, thanks to the resumption of the train service in Kashmir and the normal operation of the Internet in the municipality of the highway.

The resumption of train service between Srinagar and Banihal on November 17 last year after being suspended for more than three months after the cancellation of Kashmir residents who invade the city of the road, which is located in the Jammu region, to access the installation of Internet and convert prepaid mobile SIM cards in postpaid.

Internet services remain blocked throughout the Valley, except in some government offices, hospitals and commercial establishments since August 5 of last year, the day the Center announced the repeal of the provisions of Article 370 and the fork of the state previous.

While the service was restored in the Valley on October 14 last year after being suspended for 72 days, the prepaid mobile service is still blocked.

Banihal, which houses the, known as the gateway to Kashmir - is just 110 kilometers from Srinagar and a two-hour journey by train.

More than half a dozen Internet cafes work in the city and many telecommunications service providers are having good business, mainly due to the strong influx of students, job seekers, entrepreneurs and professionals from the Valley, Danish Muzaffar, a local, told PTI. .

He said that since the train arrives from Kashmir at 10:30 a.m. and leaves at 3:15 p.m. Every day, most visitors return the same day, but many prefer to spend the night to complete their work, which also increases the hotel and restaurant business.

Due to the strong influx of customers in Internet cafes, sometimes we cannot submit our reports on time. The rush multiplied after the resumption of train service, Muzaffar said.

Bilal Ahmad Bhat, owner of one of the city's Internet cafes, said Internet speed was a problem before, but now it is normal and users leave satisfied after finishing their work.

About the overload complaints, Bhat said: Customers are charged according to normal rates, but since there are frequent power outages, we have to use the generators and, in that case, customers have to pay extra money.

The internet service in most of the Jammu region, where it was suspended, was restored at the end of August due to the general situation of law and order.

Hotelier Manzoor Ahmad said winter is generally still a period of shortage for his business, but this time the occupation is around 100 percent.

We are doing good, the guests are staying for a night or two, he said, adding the frequent closure of the Jammu- Srinagar national highway in view of landslides sometimes adds to the pressure.

There is also a strong influx of Valley customers to telecommunications service providers to convert their prepaid mobile SIM cards into postpaid.

Shoukat Ahmad Wani, a contractor from Srinagar, said he visited the town on Friday and used the internet service to upload tenders besides converted the prepaid mobile SIM card to postpaid.

The government has established Internet contact points in different places, but these are inadequate to meet the great pressure, he said, requesting the restoration of the Internet and prepaid mobile service in Kashmir.

Farooq Ahmad Bhat, another Srinagar resident, accused the hoteliers of overcharging.

He used to pay between Rs 700 and Rs 1,000 for a room depending on the facilities, but this time they are charging between Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 for different room categories, he said.

A police officer said they have stepped up patrols and keep a close eye on the city to keep the peace.