SRINAGAR: The internet blockade ordered by the government is impeding education of students, the growing trade in e-commerce, tourism and the communication among family members who live at a long distance from one another.
Kashmir University Dean Academic Affairs Prof Mohammad Ashraf Wani told Kashmir Reader that the blockade has affected the student admission process as the online procedures cannot be completed.
“Students are unable to upload forms and to download roll number slips. They also cannot access the information uploaded on the university website. If the ban continues, the admission process will have to be halted. In such circumstance, we may go through an offline admission process,” the professor said.
Thursday was the 10th consecutive day of the internet ban imposed by the government after massive student protests across the valley.
Jehangir Raina, President of the Information Communications Technology Association of J&K (ICTA), a group of 45 IT companies, said that the income of an IT professional comes down to zero when the internet is suspended.
“The IT sector, excluding telecom companies, contributes Rs 300 crore to the GDP of the state. The blockade on internet brought it down last year, and this year, too, the same is happening. Our work is directly connected to the internet. When internet is suspended, we have no work to do. Most of the workforce operates from their homes through internet services. Now they are sitting idle,” Raina said.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Thursday said that the ban has affected the handicraft sector as business deals cannot be met on schedules and commitments. In a statement the KCCI said that tourism activity is also affected as hotels, travel agents, tour operators are unable to coordinate or make bookings online.
Hemant Kumar, a tourist who is on a visit to Kashmir, said that he has been unable to send pictures of Kashmir to his friends. “I wanted to show them that Kashmir is safe. My friends were fearful about the violent situation in the Valley, but everything is hunky-dory here. I wanted to show it to them through photos,” he said.
Kashmiri students and those working outside the Valley are facing difficulties in communicating with their families. Alisa, a resident of Srinagar, said that her sister works in Saudi Arabia and has been unable to talk to her as she did every day due to the suspended internet services.
“On internet we conversed on daily basis because it was cheap. Now we have to make phone calls which cost a lot. We now talk only twice a week, that too for a short period of time,” she said.