The Bold Voice of J&K

Ban on internet: On-line businesses worst affected

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Simmering unrest in Kashmir deprives Jammu from InternetWill the government compensate on Kashmir pattern, rues one of the woman entrepreneur

Malu Kerni
Though the internet service has been restored in Jammu after 18 days of turmoil in Kashmir after the killing of Hizbul militant on July 8, the region never reported any incident which could trigger communal passions. The approximate loss of business for the segment is estimated at Rs 1000 crore besides spoiling the tourism and the annual Amarnath Yatra. The worst affected in the melee were the online businesses, students and small traders. Today, almost 85 per cent of the small traders and entrepreneurs work online to earn their livelihood. All the transactions and payment are made online and all these came to a halt due to the restrictions imposed on mobile internet.
Seema Sharma, who runs an online boutique woman said, “This internet ban affected my business. I am a widow and this online business is my only source of income but due to this ban I am not able to work. I am paying Rs 750 per month as internet charges to the service providers but still am not able to use it. I have to pay all my bills and deliveries but am not able to do all this in time. I am not getting new orders and this is affecting my business and financial condition. How would I survive and pay my dues if I do not work. Why do we suffer? Can’t administration think of some other option? Why harassing people here for no cause? Are they going to give us compensation for our loss?”
Ritika Verma, an entrepreneur who work from home and was totally dependent on mobile internet for her business after the ban she had not been unable to get any new orders. “I used to get approximately 400 orders a month and was running a good business but the ban put a full stop on my work and I suffered huge loss. I am unable to receive my pending payments as all this is done online. Moreover, I have to clear my dues also and I was not able to do this and that affected my dealing and business with the artisans outside the state”, said Ritika.
A large number of students and general masses were hit hard as they were totally dependent on the mobile internet services for their day to day work. The students community and people especially women who run business online are completely dependent on mobile internet.
“I was not able to get the admissions notifications of the university on time due to this internet ban. I have to send my form by post and for that I have to make several requests to the Chandigarh University and make them understand the situation here. I have to pay additional late fee for no fault. Why do we people suffer? Is administration going to compensate to people who suffered due to this? Am I going to get my late fee from the administration?”, said Pawan Sharma, a student.
The only section that make merry was the Cyber café owners. Huge rush of students was seen outside these café’s where broadband facility was available. Many students complain that some café owners charged more money from students as they know that there was no other option.
As the admission session is on these days it has become difficult for students to get the required information and know about the notifications. “I don’t think there was any need of snapping down the Internet services in Jammu, when the problem is in Kashmir. The situation here is normal and peaceful but if administration still feels any threat through social media then they should ban social media but not the entire Internet,” said Priyanka Sharma, a student.
Another student Pooja Sharma shared, “Why do we suffer because of unrest in Kashmir? I don’t remember any incident where internet or other restrictions are imposed in Kashmir when there is unrest in Jammu region. We have to pay full charges to the services providers despite ban on internet. This is admission season and we have to be aware of all the notifications and other information but due to ban on internet service we suffered a lot. How many times and for how long can you sit in a café and search the content. This ban affected our career and administration was least bothered about it. They are only concerned about Kashmir. This is not done!”

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