Is Airtel’s free package really for flood victims?

Srinagar: Bharti Airtel, the mobile and internet service provider, has come under sharp criticism for its so-called one week free package for the flood-affected people of Kashmir.
People took to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to ridicule the mobile company over its announcement of free night talk time to flood victims, while the business community called it cheap marketing tactics.
The Airtel on Monday said, “As a small gesture (to flood affected people), we have made all Airtel to Airtel calls free in Kashmir from 11 pm to 6 am for next seven days. For those whose data validity lapsed during the floods, we have credited your account with 200MB 2G data.”
Calling it a ‘disgusting’ decision, a Facebook user, Saju Wani wrote, “If Airtel really has sympathy towards the flood affected people of Kashmir then it should be during day time…they think we are fools.”
A Twitter user, Prince Aamir, termed it Airtel’s relief for Romeo and Juliet. “Or you need to be an owl to do business during the night to benefit from Airtel’s night relief package,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.
“With their worst performance during floods, the notorious Airtel has woken from slumber and offered some free night calls and some data for one week starting October 14. It seems people are ditching their network which let down millions of Kashmiris at a time when they needed it most and now the company fears losses,” wrote another Facebook user.
Chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance, Mohammad Yasin Khan termed the Airtel’s decision as a “gimmick to hoodwink the young people”. He said the company, which gets tax-free revenue worth millions of rupees, failed the people of Kashmir when it was needed most during the floods, and now it has failed again.
“Instead of announcing some real relief measure like one month free service or initiating some help to flood affected people under its CSR (corporate social responsibility) the company chose to do this cheap marketing tactic,” Khan added.
Kashmir Reader made repeated attempts to contact any senior from the Airtel for comment but to no avail.