Around 34 lakh subscribers suffer as Aircel suspends its services in J&K

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, Feb 23: Leaving in lurch around 34 lakh subscribers in the State one of the leading telecom service provider, ‘Aircel’ has unofficially stopped its services in Jammu and Kashmir without prior information of  the same.
Dishnet Wirless, known as Aircel,  was  the third largest telecom service provider in Jammu and Kashmir, where it has  34,22,896 subscribers as per official data of  Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Following sudden suspension of its services here, these subscribers have been left high and dry and facing huge inconvenience as both calling and data services of  the Aircel are not functional in the entire State for the last two days.
These subscribers are not only facing problem in getting connected with others but also suddenly deprived of various essential services linked to the personal mobile telephone number. These people are not been able to generate OTIP (One Time Identification Password) number for Aadhar card,  getting cooking gas booked, ticket confirmation etc.
Biometric attendance in several offices in some areas has also got severely affected as the biometric machines of internet version, linked  through Aircel data service are not functional since Wednesday, reports said.
“Mobile number  is mentioned in Aadhar Card, Bank Accounts, Pan Card, Passport and  also known to all relations, friends, offices etc.  In case of closure, the  company should have given us chance to port our mobile number  with other service providers,” said Tilak Raj of Bhaderwah, who had been using Aircel services for the last several years.
A number of aggrieved customers also  virtually laid siege to some of  Aircel outlets in Jammu and other areas following no response of the service provider to their repeated attempts to connect. However, all the outlets were closed since yesterday and there was no response from the company officials.
Pertinent to mention that Aircel was  facing  financial crisis and it had allegedly failed to clear dues of other operators and tower companies, which purportedly suspending their services to  Dishnet Wireless thus resulting into the shutdown.
A number of Aircel customers rang up the Excelsior office through other networks and said that they were  neither able to make or receive a call since Wednesday and there was no response  from the company to their complaint in this regard.  They were more infuriated over the irresponsible behaviour of the company, which did not informed them prior thus rendering them unable to avail the mobile number porting facility due to complete suspension of Aircel service.
There are similar reports from Kashmir valley where the number of Aircel subscribers was  more, particularly after 2014 deluge  when it was the only private cellular operator whose network was operational during the devastating floods.
Meanwhile, when contacted, Chief General Manager (CGM) BSNL J&K,  H K Verma told the Excelsior that BSNL would provide mobile number porting facility to the Aircel subscribers, who could initiate  Port Out request by latching on to BSNL network from manual network search. “By latching on to BSNL network, Aircel customers will start receiving  SMSs,” he added.
Similar offer is learnt to have been made by the Bharti Airtel management, for porting facility to the Aircel subscribers.