Landlines still dead in majority areas in Srinagar; people aghast

People waiting at Enquiry Counter of BSNL in Srinagar on Monday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
People waiting at Enquiry Counter of BSNL in Srinagar on Monday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

Irfan Tramboo
SRINAGAR, Aug 26: With Government claiming to have restored majority of landline connections in Kashmir, the telephones in majority areas of Srinagar are still dead as they have not been made operational following the communication clampdown that was imposed across the State on August 5.
For making one single call, scores of people from the Srinagar thronged to Deputy Commissioner’s office as they said that their landlines were still dead and they had to get in touch with their family members outside.
“The Government said that they have made thousands of landlines functional in Kashmir, but so far, we have not been able to make a single call in downtown, the telephone lines are quite dead,” Shabir Ahmad, a resident of Safa Kadal said.
They said that they have been left with no option but to go to the Deputy Commissioner’s office or to the local police stations in order to make one single telephone call.
“While there is no public transport available on roads, we have to come all the way from downtown areas to make a phone call. Government says that they have restored the landlines, but they have perhaps forgotten us,” said Nazir Ahmad, another resident of downtown.
Residents of Soura also complained about the non-functionality of landlines. The Sub Exchange situated at Soura has also not been made functional as of now. The exchange is providing the services to various adjoining areas, the non-functionality of which has rendered a large population clueless.
“My landline is dead since August 5; there is no fun of having it at home when you can’t even make a single call. After the Government announced that it had started the process of restoring the telephones lines, I was somewhat hopeful, but that hope ended soon,” said Tauseef Ahmad, a resident of Soura.
While scores of people are restoring their old telephone connections, the residents of old city are seeing it as a futile exercise owing to the fact that already existing lines were yet to go live.
“I had an old connection which I had surrendered a year ago. I guess, but I don’t think that restoring it will be of any use as those that are up and running as of now, are lying dead; so I am not going for the restoration of my connection,” said Bilal Ahmad.
The residents are demanding that their landlines should be restored as soon as possible, as they are facing lots of hardships due to the non-availability of modes of communication in the area.
“The times around are crucial and people are suffering due to the communication clampdown, the Government should restore the landline connection in the Old City like they have done in other areas of Srinagar,” said Abdul Hamid, who had come to pay the bill of his landline connection at BSNL Exchange Lal Chowk.
The landlines of Lal Chowk area, including Pratap Park where almost all the newspapers and journalists have offices, are defunct. They were restored last week for two hours and went dead all of a sudden.