The much needed telecom connectivity in border areas of Jammu

Border security has always been a critical issue especially in Jammu and Kashmir. The state has been on target since ages thus facing heavy cross border firing incidents. Apart from guarding the borders, keeping an account of all the ongoing activities and having an intelligence grid is a must which can garner all important information. Over the years, the capacity of security forces deployed in border areas of Jammu and Kashmir has been increased considerably.

Strengthening network

J&K faces major terror threat from Pakistan but with the current tech-savvy crop of militants, even the intelligence agencies need to be on the ball. Considering the vulnerability of the state, the government keeps on changing norms related to border areas from time to time. Thus, in this modern era of communication, just to cut back on complexity in the interaction, the government had earlier barred telecom operators to install Base Trans-receive Stations (BTS) within 10 kms of the international border which was later relaxed in September, 2014. The step was taken with the aim to strengthen mobile connectivity in border areas. This particular relaxation has been given to the entire border and all the areas which fall under 10 km of the LoC, LAC and the international border which runs along Akhnoor and Pathankot.

Pending promises

The then Union Minister of State for Communications and Information Technology Sachin Pilot had reviewed connectivity related issues in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir at Poonch in 2012 and promised to develop telecom facilities in the area.

Later, in the year 2014 multiple telecom services were hampered due to the floods. But different companies made arrangements to restore services later on. And in the year 2015, government extended the use of all prepaid mobile services in Jammu & Kashmir for 2 more years.



Border areas under "Digital India"

Since, border residents need mobile connectivity more than anyone owing to cross border firing incidents so recently MLA Mendhar, Javed A Rana sought intervention of Union Telecom Minister for making border residents a part of ‘Digital India'. The MLA in his letter pitched for improving the mobile connectivity in border districts of Poonch and Rajouri. He further explained the worst state of people residing in these areas owing to absence of mobile connectivity. He pointed out major areas of border belts of Rajouri and Poonch including Jhanger, Kalal, Lam, Keri, Manjakote in Rajouri district and Balakote, Mankote, KG and Saujiyan in Poonch district which are bearing this burnt and need immediate assistance from the Government.

The issue of cross border firing has been a war in itself which these people are fighting every day. The proxy war situation in areas of Pir Panjal range makes it mandatory for them to be able to communicate their hardships to concerned authorities at the right time or in hours of need. Thus, keeping in consideration, the need of border residents and security related aspects, they must be introduced to digital world and telecom connectivity should be provided to them.

 

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Author

Hardeep Bali