Communication gag affects mobile phone business in J&K

Communication gag affects mobile phone business in J&K

Police and CRPF personnel stand guard near the residence of National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, in Srinagar (PTI Photo)

The ongoing communication blockade in Kashmir has not only incurred huge losses to cellular companies, but the business of all leading brands of mobile phones has also been severely affected.

Muddasir Bhat, a businessman owning the dealerships of two leading mobile phone brands said communication blockade has caused huge losses for not only him but for everybody associated with this trade.

“Before August 5, on an average each day we would sell mobile phones for Rs 20 lakhs a day. However, there has been almost zero sales since mobile and internet services were barred in Kashmir 47-days ago,” he told DH.

Bhat feels that the communication blockade has pushed Kashmir behind a decade and “situation is worse than 2014 floods.” “Not only the losses, I have no idea whether my dealership with the companies continues or not. For the last almost two months, I have no communication with them due to internet gag,” he rued.

The mobile and internet services in Kashmir were snapped on August 5, hours before the parliament scrapped J&K’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two union territories. The communication gag has rendered smartphones worthless, as nowadays people only use these gadgets for watching time and playing some downloaded games.

Mushtaq Ahmad, a retailer of mobile phones fears that their business will vanish if the ongoing gag doesn’t come to an end immediately. “Smartphones without internet are like guns without bullets. Nobody in Kashmir is interested in purchasing a smartphone now and out business has been severely affected for no fault of ours,” he said.

Though mobile services in Kashmir were launched after a delay of years in 2003, in the last decade all the leading cellular operators and mobile brands had made a successful entry into the Valley market. However, the current communication gag has dealt a blow to the business prospects of these companies, with many of them laying off their employees.