SRINAGAR: All the five main Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) franchise operating in ten different districts of Kashmir Valley Monday closed their outlets after the re-surfacing of threatening posters and mysterious attacks on people associated with telecommunication sector.
With the shutdown of the BSNL franchise outlets in all the districts, the sub-franchises and retailers have automatically wound up their business as a result from Monday not a single pre-paid BSNL subscriber was able to recharge his cell phone.
There are five BSNL franchises all across Kashmir and every franchise has been doing business in two districts each. We called a meeting and decided to close our outlets from Monday morning. All the outlets in Srinagar, Budgam, Ganderbal, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam, Anantnag, Baramulla, Bandipora, Kupwara are completely shut now. We are feeling scared after the attacks in North Kashmir and re-surfacing of threatening posters in some parts of South Kashmir, a BSNL franchise told CNS on condition of anonymity.
Another franchise revealed that the company asked them to close their outlets if they are scared. We dont want to take any chance. We have little children and dont want to fall prey to unknown gunmen, he said.
With the closing down of all the five main BSNL franchise outlets, the pre-paid subscribers can neither get recharge for their cell-phones nor people can get new BSNL pre-paid sim cards. Every franchise does a business up to tune of Rs five lakhs per day and the closure of franchise outlets means a huge loss to the company and the people associated with it, said a BSNL official.
With power supply to many mobile transmission towers snapped in wake of the threats, call drops and congestion in network have become a common occurrence.
It has become woefully difficult to get a call through to mobile phones within the valley or outside. One has to keep trying in the hope of getting through, said Mohammad Umar, a photojournalist.
A newly surfaced outfit Lashker-e-Islam has claimed responsibility for the attacks in north Kashmir and asked the mobile operators to wind up services across the Valley.
BSNL Tower Landlords Welfare Organization
Meanwhile, immediately after the latest attack on a mobile tower in Habba Kadal, BSNL Tower Landlords Welfare Organization decided to shutdown operation of BSNL towers, a local news agency reported.
In an emergency meeting, our organization unanimously decided to shutdown the operation of BSNL towers across the Valley installed in our premises or lands. We are going to close their operations from Monday evening, said Shabir Ahmad Lone, president of the organization.
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