Telecom services normalising slowly in Kashmir Valley

New Delhi: Telecom services in the flood-hit Kashmir Valley are being normalised slowly with BSNL restoring around 80 per cent of the affected network.

Other private players including Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, Aircel and Reliance Communications (RCom) have also restored their network in various parts of the state ravaged by the floods.

BSNL said it has restored 92 base transceiver stations (BTS) or mobile towers which were affected by the floods and overall 473 towers are working in the Valley whereas 934 is the number for whole state.

In Srinagar city alone, 55 towers are up and running. The only towers which have not been restored are those submerged under water.

“The floods have mostly affected South Kashmir so we have changed settings of towers in North Kashmir in such a way that connectivity can be provided in South Kashmir,” a BSNL official told PTI.

About 80 per cent of the affected network has been restored, he added.

BSNL distributed 1,200 free SIM cards today. The state-run firm plans to distribute 5,000 SIMs.

“All district headquarters in Leh, Ladakh and Jammu have now been made fully operational. In Kashmir, connectivity has been restored in all the 4 critical Tehsils of Anantnag district namely Anantnag, Dooru, Kokernag, Shangus,” Airtel said in a statement.

Idea said its network is now completely restored in Jammu and parts of Anantnag in Kashmir region.

Airtel PCOs have been set up in Poonch at Gujjar Hostel, Airfield and Nagli Sahb facilitating free calls for everyone 24X7. More PCOs are planned across relief camps.

“All 5 VSAT terminals we flew in to Srinagar have now been set up at critical areas to create public Wi-Fi hot spots at Badami Bagh, Bagat Barzulla Gurdwara and Srinagar Airport enabling free access to data services to all mobile phones users,” Airtel said.

Meanwhile, major telecom operators including Idea, Airtel, Vodafone and RCom will offer 60 free minutes calls everyday for the next 5 days in Kashmir Valley.

BSNL, however, has been offering free calls since the past 10 days.

Idea has auto-credited Rs 12 in the accounts of customers with low balance, in Srinagar region, to ensure that such people are able to make emergency calls if stranded.

“We have installed Idea booths at various rescue and relief camps pre-loaded with talktime. Talktime would be reloaded as and where required on these terminals,” Idea said.

According to latest reports, more than 1,25,000 people were rescued from the worst-ever floods to hit the state in 109 years.

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