PULWAMA: Living in the digital age, being plugged into the telecommunication network is still a dream for Kanji Nag village of district Pulwama where a basic cellular network “does not exist”.
Residents of Kanji Nag area have been concerned about the “non-availability of telecommunication networks” in the area since the year 2003, when mobile airwaves first came to Kashmir. People here, however, are totally disconnected from the world outside even today and face serious problems as a result.
Students, job seekers, businesspersons and government and private officials alike face the hassles of non-connectivity, complain residents. They describe how shocked outsiders are as soon as they enter the village when they see ‘emergency call’ displayed unrelentingly on their cell phones.
The residents claimed that the area “never had a cellular network” and that the few efforts made for bringing the village into a reachable zone have already failed because of hurdles created by telecommunication companies, such as around NOC issue and real estate papers.
Locals said that they are forced to go more than two kilometres away to main town Awantipora just to make or receive a phone call; they said they feel they are living in the Stone Age in this 21st century.
Some villagers reported failing to even find a match for their daughters since more than three arranged marriages were cancelled just for the reason that the area lacks a cellular network.
Parents whose wards study outside the state said that their children are often put to stress since they cannot communicate with them on time. Just to talk with them, the parents have to reach the main town, even during evening hours.
Local resident Mohammad Ashraf Shah said that this issue was taken up with several telecom companies many times, but all their assurances for a solution went in vain. “JIO Company constructed two towers some two years back at village Rajpora and Booh, but both these towers are not functioning till date for unknown reasons,” he said.
According to Shah, a population of more than 1000 people here is “cut off from the world outside”. He said that more than four persons, himself included, have been fired from private organisation just because they could not keep up with the network since the village is in a ‘no coverage zone’.
The residents said that the issue needs to be taken into priority by the state government so that people living in the said village wouldn’t face problems in future.