Continuous Internet Blockade Affecting Young Entrepreneurs

With the state government banning mobile internet services in valley, the Kashmir based business establishments, especially young entrepreneurs are facing tremendous difficulties. What is adding to their miseries is the one month ban on social networking sites.

It all started earlier this month, when protesting students came out on streets. The main centres of protests were SP College and Girls Higher Secondary, Kothi Bagh, which as per reports compelled the state government to order ban on social networking sites. However, 2G and 3G internet services are already suspended in the valley.

Many youngsters who have started new business ventures are the worst hit as their business has dwindled by the continuous internet blockade.

A living example is a newly established food chain named: Food Kart. The food chain is also facing tough times due to the non-availability of internet. “Our business has come to a drastic low due to the internet shutdown” said Furqan Qureshi, who is running Food Kart with his partner, Amir Bashir.

Food Kart saw a bloom in its customer base when it went online by unveiling their app ‘Food Kart,’ in March this year.

“Our Android Food Kart app has got 5000 download so far, and then we came up with our IOS app. The day we launched it, internet services were snapped all across the valley, still we managed to get 1000 downloads,” Furqan said, while adding that “now it is, as of now, of no use at all.”

After shifting from off line services to providing online services, the owners at Food Kart are once again thinking of resuming the offline services.

Another entrepreneur, Harris Ahmad who is running an advertising firm in old city said that he had to face huge losses due to the internet shutdown.

“I have my clients in different parts of India. I have to be in contact with them, but I cannot.” What has added to his already affected business is the decision of ban to be imposed on social networking sites, “we used to promote our business through Facebook, but now this option is also gone,” he said, adding that “given the nature of our work, we have to share our work with other people working simultaneously, but the ban on whatsapp has taken out that option too,” he said.

The internet shutdown and ban on social networking sites has affected a wide spectrum of business establishments and is not confined to a particular business setup. Aijaz Ahmad Kachroo, a young entrepreneur handling different business outlets and mainly concerned with the supply of surgical equipment’s to the valley hospitals said that “I think that the business hubs should take a retreat towards primitive system of business, because we never know when the internet services will be snapped; it is all at risk” Visibly aghast Aijaz said that “snapping the communication channels in this era of digitization is deplorable.”

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