Anantnag: Amid mobile internet blackout across Kashmir, municipal workers are making door-to-door appearances asking people to download the “Aarogya Setu”, a mobile application meant for tracking user location and contact history.
The application has been developed by the national informatics centre and the ministry of electronics and information technology is overseeing the working. The application is supposed to help a person determine whether he/she is at a risk of contracting the COVID-19 infection.
For people in Kashmir however, the continuation of 2G mobile internet services has kept people from using the application for their benefit.
On May 6, hours before killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo, authorities snapped voice calling and 2G internet services. While the voice calling has now been restored last night, the internet services remain snapped.
Amid this internet blackout, people in many parts of south Kashmir told Kashmir Reader that the employees of Municipal Committees and Councils visited their homes and asked them to install Aarogya Setu on their mobile phones.
“They are carrying a card with a barcode on it. We are supposed to scan it and download the application. It is hilarious, isn’t it? There is no internet and when woman from the municipality visited out house, even the voice calls were snapped,” a resident of Anantnag town told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the woman asked him to keep a picture of the barcode clicked and download it when the internet works.
What worries people the most is the fact that these employees are unprotected, with not even masks in most of the cases.
“They visit dozens of homes and interact with people. They should be at least wearing gloves and masks if not the PPEs,” locals lament.
The workers who are being sent door-to-door are equally scared and embarrassed.
“Embarrassed because there is no internet and dead scared because we are not protected at all. But we have to follow orders. Most of us are daily wagers and will be disengaged if we do not follow the orders,” a worker told Kashmir Reader.
Director Urban Local Bodies, Reyaz Ahmad, insisted that the employees going door-to-door do not need a safety gear.
“Why do they need the safety gear, they just have to keep distance,” Riyaz told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the internet too will work soon and then it will be fine. “It’s not a permanent ban on internet; it will work in the days to come,”