To access internet people travel 100 km to Banihal

BANIHAL: A single internet café in Banihal, some 100-kms away from the Srinagar, is offering space to people living life without internet for more than five months.
Located amid the mountains of Pir Panchal Banihal is now easily accessed from valley by a railway line. A market that has sprung in Nagbal area, with an internet café remains crowded by people from early morning to late afternoon.
The need for the use of internet makes people to stand in queues and wait patiently for hours for a service that many months ago was accessible on their finger tips.
Among these internet travellers, are traders, students and job seekers.
Faizan Mehraj, an accountant working at a textile firm in the Valley, is a frequent visitor.
His aim is to file the tax on time for his company and the café visits are twice a week now.
He says that he will have to travel until the internet is restored in the Valley where internet for people has been shut in anticipation of protests post revocation of special status in August.
However, Banihal being a part of Jammu, authorities there have allowed its acess.
On Thursday, Faizan left his downtown residence at 8 am to reach to Nowgam railway station to catch a train for Banihal.
By 10.30 the café at Banihal was already overcrowded; as students from other neighbouring districts from valley had reached early by a morning train.
A wait for two hours, provide him a space for an hour, a suitable time to file the returns. .
About the service being provided for traders at Srinagar by the administration, Faizan said that there is huge rush, and his employer is prompt on tax returns.
Muhammad Zuhaib, who lost his job in wake of the lockdown that impacted business in the Valley, had moved to Banihal to find jobs through internet in India and elsewhere.
Saturday was his fourth visit Banihal, from where he sent his resume to different companies and consultancies.
So far no one has responded to my email, but he has keep track of his mail.
A lone bread earner for four member family, Zuhaib, lost his managerial job at a hotel in Srinagar after government asked tourist to flee from Valley. He is a graduate in tourism from Kashmir University.
Apart from apply for jobs, many reach the spot to file admission forms, and some even want to interact with friends on internet.
Musa Khateeb a student from Kashmir said that prior to ban,my activity was limited to internet which was impacted by the ban. “Earlier I visited a friend in New Delhi to get a internet feel. Now I visit Banihal, which is a shorter distance and I can return home the same day,” he said.

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