facing problem in finding secure places in Kashmir valley for setting up
During the seven month long Indo-Pak standoff at the borders
due to 13 December Parliament attack, the hapless people of Jammu and Kashmir
state faced a tough time. Faced with terrorism and bloodshed for the past
13 years, they also faced the wrath of the government as the Cabinet Committee
on Security (CCS) decision to snap internet and STD/PCO facilities from
the entire state for seven long months, affected their lives badly.
The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL withdrew the Internet and STD
facilities from the entire state on 28 December 2001 as the intelligence
agencies in the state apprehended that the defense related information
was being leaked out through PCO booths. The argument included that the
militants were using laptops and computers for communicating with their
mentors all over the country and abroad. Besides, they were also using
Public Call Office (PCOs) to make calls to each other, hence the snapping
of the ties.
Snapping of the facility abruptly had come as a shock to most of the
people and security personnel as it was done at a time when tension at
the borders was at its peak and families back home were worried about their
welfare. The government decision had also affected over 6000 STD/PCO operators
functioning all over the state. Of these, 2500 alone were in Kashmir valley.
Besides, it was for the first time in the past 54 years that the government
had withdrawn such facilities from Jammu and Kashmir. Even such a move
was not taken during 1971 Indo-Pak war. People felt as if they were living
in the primitive ages, with no connection with the outside world except
With this move, even the future of mobile telephony services coming
to militancy-torn state was also jeopardized. Ultimately, in June last
year, the ban on telephone and internet services was lifted and life returned
to normal. Thus came the clearance from the Cabinet Committee on Security
(CCS) directing the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to start Wireless
Local Loop(WLL) and mobile services in the troubled state.
After facing a ban on STD calls and internet services due to heavy border
build up for seven long months, the residents of militancy-infested state
of Jammu and Kashmir will at last have access to mobile phone services
which would be made available by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL)
from 13 April. It will, in plain language, be 'Baisakhi' gift from the
Government of India to Jammu and Kashmir. In the initial stages, mobile
phone service will be made available in the principal cities, Jammu and
Srinagar and Mata Vaishno Devi keeping in view the heavy influx of pilgrims
to this holy place. In subsequent phases, the service will cover the entire
“With the mobile services starting from 13 April, Jammu and Kashmir
will join the telecom revolution in the country with the Central government
deciding to extend mobile phone services to the state,” says Mr Arun Kumar
, Chief General Managar (CGM) Telecom, BSNL, J&K.
For starting the mobile services in Jammu and Srinagar cities and Mata
Vaishno Devi initially, the BSNL would be setting up a total of 23 towers
– 10 in Jammu, 10 in Srinagar and one each at Katra, Sanji Chat and one
at Bhawan. By 15 August, the mobile services would cover the remaining
12 district headquarters of the state for which another 37 towers would
be set up. Besides, the entire National Highway from Lakhanpur to Srinagar
would also be covered in this phase II.
Mr Kumar also informed that that the BSNL had to work overtime and much
efforts were made to find secure building in Kashmir where they could erect
the towers for the mobile services.
“The problem was to find secure building where no anti-national element
could sabotage it. If something happens to any of the towers, then the
entire mobile service would go haywire,” he said adding that now with great
effort, they have identified places at Kashmir University, Srinagar High
Court etc where they would be setting up the towers for mobile services.
Presently, phase I has been taken up throughout the country as far as
BSNL mobile services are concerned. While the entire country will have
Phase II by October this year, Jammu and Kashmir will have both the phases
in April this year only.
The GSM technology has been adapted in our country for regular and fully
Roaming Mobile Telephony. The same would be used in the troubled Jammu
and Kashmir. For starting mobile services Nigam requires latest GSM technology
for which the tenders were floated earlier and order placed to a company
but due to delay in receiving CCS directions, the process was shelved temporarily.
“In J&K state the mobile services will be provided in all the 14
district Headquarters along with Mata Vaishno Devi / Katra including full
coverage on Pathankot – Jammu - Srinagar National Highway. A main
switch will be installed at Jammu which will have two branch switches one
each at Jammu and Srinagar,” informed Mr R.K Upadhayaya, General manager, BSNL, Jammu adding that a total of 60 base stations are proposed to be
installed in the project to cover the areas earmarked. Every base station
is connected to one of the two branch stations. Bigger cities, Jammu and
Srinagar will have 10 base stations each, while the District Headquarters
of Baramulla, Kupwara, Kargil and Leh will have two base stations each.
Remaining District Headquarters will have one base
station each. Pathankot - Jammu - Srinagar National Highway will
have 24 base stations to cover the highway portion, providing signals in
moving vehicles, he said adding that the main and branch stations will
be located in one or the other telephone exchanges. The base stations as
far as possible, shall be located in telephone exchanges but at Jammu and
Srinagar some roof top sites need to be acquired wherein roof top towers
will be put up.
The cell phone tower at Channi Himmat has already been made ready while
work on towers at Gangyal and Talab Tillo was going on at a rapid pace.
The setting up of the towers for cell-phone is based on the radio frequency
planning which is being properly conducted before installation of any tower.
In Jammu city the areas which have been identified for installation of
towers for cell-phone are Gandhi Nagar, Talab Tillo, Gangyal, Channi Himmat,
Trikuta Nagar, Jewel, Residence Road, Kachi Chawani, Janipur and Nagrota.
"The work on these places is going on rapidly as we are committed to
start cell-phone services in Jammu by April 13—Baisakhi", said the GMTD.
Nigam will also appoint distributors in all the areas of the State and
in case of any problem, customers will have to approach them as Nigam is
going to involve distributors for the same.
It may be mentioned that the BSNL has recently launched Wireless Telephony
in Jammu city only.
With the BSNL working overtime for launching mobile services on 13 April,
the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are anxiously waiting for the mobile
services , will join their counterparts in rest of the country in this