Customers switch to postpaid mobiles in Valley

Telcos charging dues for lockdown period

Irfan Tramboo

Srinagar, Oct 17: Now that only postpaid mobile phones have been restored in the Valley, people are busy in converting their prepaid connections to postpaid in order to avail the services.
Huge rush of people is being witnessed outside the counters of the telecom operators in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley, where people from various parts of the city are thronging to avail the services of switching over to postpaid.
Abdul Rahim Dar of old city Srinagar does not have even a single postpaid number functional in his family of 5. He has been doing rounds of the counters that have been thrown open by the telecom companies to convert one of his five mobile connections. He has even tried his level best to get a landline connection at home when mobile telephony was shut, but to no avail.
“For the want of communication, I have been suffering since August; first for the want of a landline connection and now to switch over to the postpaid, which seems to be a tiresome job given the rush of people that is witnessed here,” he said while he waited at a facilitation centre set-up at Karan Nagar.
What is now giving people a tough time is the non-availability of recharge facilities with regard to all the telecommunication operators. With internet still shut, people are facing difficulties in paying their outstanding amounts.
While some are waiting in queues in the morning and evening, those who have their friends and families living outside J&K are calling them up to pay their bills. “I had postpaid airtel Simcard, but I was not able to make calls due to the outstanding amount that I had to pay; then a friend from Delhi came to my rescue and paid my bill,” said Bilal Ahmad, a resident from Lal Bazar.
It is pertinent to mention here that the administration on Monday noon had restored around 40 lakh postpaid mobile connections after the passage of more than 70 days, while as putting the functioning of around 25 lakh prepaid mobile connections on hold. It, however, blocked the SMS service on mobile connections hours after they were restored.
People are also ruing the attitude of the telecom companies as they are making them pay dues for the period when the mobile communication was shut. They said that the companies cannot make them pay for the services that they did not use.
“How can this be just; they cannot make us pay for what was not even available to the entire population since August 5. The companies should at least try to be generous in the times that are difficult as people have suffered immensely due to the lockdown,” said Altaf Ahmad, waiting to pay his bill at Airtel’s Shivpora counter.
However, those at the helm of affairs are saying that they are doing whatever they can to facilitate people in switching over the postpaid service. They are also saying that they are themselves facing a number of issues which is ultimately affecting the customers as well.