4G restored: Relief in J-K as traders, hoteliers and teachers welcome govt’s move

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Hoteliers, businesspersons, and those connected with education in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu welcomed the decision to restore 4G mobile Internet on Friday, saying it would help the economic recovery, and advance the democratisation of education through technology.

“It is a welcome step and on behalf of the tourism fraternity and all stakeholders, we thank officials who have restored 4G services in the Union Territory,” Asif Burza, president of the Pahalgam Hoteliers’ Association, said.

Burza said the move will instill a sense of confidence and security among tourists, which will pave the industry’s way to recovery.

Many in Jammu could not believe the news when they first heard it. “Is it really true,” asked trader Desh Rattan Dubey, who described it as a delayed and welcome decision.

President of the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Arun Gupta said restoration of high-speed mobile Internet had been a long-pending demand of businesspersons and students. Traders will now find it easier to deal with e-way bills, he said.

Mubeen Masoodi, developer of the mobile application WiseApp, which has helped schools and colleges in J&K conduct classes on lower bandwidth through the past many months, said the restoration of high-speed mobile Internet would allow the democratisation of content in J&K, like anywhere else in the world.

“Restrictions on the Internet, followed by the Covid-19 pandemic, forced a lot of teachers like me to innovate. This (restoration of 4G) opens up opportunities to continue doing that. Students can be more up to date with the latest content, tools… Internet restriction curtailed the reach of ed tech from around the world to J&K,” he said.

PDP spokesperson Suhail Bukhari, however, said: “The population of all of J&K was deprived of high-speed Internet for more than a year, through the most difficult of times. Health, education, businesses, all suffered. This (restoration) is not a favour to us. It has come very late; Internet should not have been snapped in the first place.”

President of the J&K Apni Party, Altaf Bukhari, who has petitioned the Centre at least four times over the past year to restore 4G services citing losses to business and education, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I thank the PM for honouring his commitment. After a long time this is good news for J&K,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party president and former MLA Balwant Singh Mankotia described the decision as a victory of the people. “The absence of 4G had adversely hit especially students and traders,” he said.