J&K: Employees working in telcos stare at dark future

Hundreds of employees working in the telecom sector in Kashmir have been facing uncertain future as two private telecom operators have reportedly decided to wind up their businesses due to communication blockade for the last more than two months.

Reports said two privately owned telecommunication operators have communicated to their staff members to search for new options as it was becoming difficult for them to pay salaries to the employees when the revenue generation was almost nil.

Internet and mobile phone services have been snapped in Kashmir since August 5, when the Parliament scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370. Though mobile phone services are operational in the Jammu region, mobile internet services have been barred there also.

“There is almost no work for our employees for the last more than two months and revenue generation has been almost nil in Kashmir while in Jammu it is low. We have been told by our employer to find new options as from October onwards they can’t pay us salaries,” an executive of one of the telcos told DH.

“There is a scarcity of job opportunities in the telecom sector and if the privately-owned telecom operators close down the business or retrench the employees, most of us would be rendered jobless as there are no alternatives available,” he added. 

Muneer Ahmad, who works on a senior position in one of the companies said, “I got married two years back and have a one-year-old baby. If I lose job, how will I feed my family. It seems the government is deliberately pushing us towards unemployment,” he said.

A senior police officer said that the restoration of mobile phones and internet services will take time. “There is an apprehension that anti-national elements may use the internet and mobile phones to mobilise crowds to protest against revocation of Article 370. Also, there are reports that militants are getting instructions from Pakistan using these facilities. There is no chance for restoration of these services at least by year-end,” he revealed.

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