Centre concerned over mobile phones in J&K

Centre concerned over mobile phones in J&K

Operators have not adhered to verification guidelines

The telecom companies operating in the state have come under the Union Home Ministry’s scanner. The Ministry has warned of strict penal action in case of  violation of  “the revised  guidelines” for issuing pre-paid/post paid connections in the valley.  
Union Home Secretary G K Pillai has held consultations  with telecom companies to ally  security concerns, particularly after the recent civil unrest.  

The  representatives of Aircel, Airtel, RCom, Tata, BSNL, Vodafone and Idea Cellular have been asked to enforce verification guidelines or face action, according to sources. 

A proposal of the Jammu and Kashmir police for imposing  fines running into crores of rupees, besides booking the violators under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Disruption Act as well as under section 121 of the IPC (waging war against the country) is under consideration.

The Department of Telecom (DoT), in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, had issued guidelines about six months ago directing mobile operators to complete the process of subscriber verification in a time-bound manner in view of security concerns. The verification process has been very slow, according to the Home Ministry.
The Centre had banned the use of pre-paid mobile services in November 2009 maintaining that the service was being misused by terrorists.

The government lifted the ban  on pre-paid mobile services in the state in January on the condition that the operators would do customer verification in the given revised format at the earliest. The revised guidelines limit the number of connections for a household to six.

While lifting the ban, the government had issued fresh guidelines for issuing pre-paid/post-paid connections.

The State has about 40 lakh pre-paid mobile phone subscribers.
 According to the updated  guidelines , no customer will be given more than one pre-paid or post-paid connection. If an individual wants to have more connections, he will have to give valid reasons for it.