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- Thousands of cellphones likely to go dead from April 1

Ranchi, March 30: Cellphones of thousands of pre-paid subscribers will be de-activated from April 1 because they have failed to verify their details with respective operators.

Fresh verification of mobile phone subscribers is being conducted all over the country following a directive of department of telecommunications, which has levied Rs 1,000 penalty for each violation of verification after March 31. DoT directive had come in November to strengthen verification system following intelligence reports that many pre-paid subscriptions were working on fake addresses and bulk connections were issued to one person.

G. Nagendra Nath, GM (mobile), BSNL, Jharkhand, said only 6,000-7,000 remained to be verified, of a total of 5 lakh subscribers. “They had taken connection through 14 BSNL franchisees in the state. We have given them ultimatum to submit fresh verification forms by tomorrow evening or their numbers would be barred from midnight,” he said.

Since June 2006 no subscriber has been given a SIM without proper verification, including physical check, said Nath, adding that they “will not be able to give more time to the subscribers to verify their details with the BSNL since deadline ends on March 31”.

“Numbers of such subscribers, who did not verify themselves will be de-activated from April 1,” he said.

A Reliance India Mobile official said they were on the job since January, “and barring a few hundred of the total four-lakh plus subscribers in Jharkhand, all submitted fresh verification forms”. Those who did not submit their papers have already been barred, he added.

“In fact, we gave a talktime of Rs 100 more to the subscribers who filled fresh forms,” he said.

Ashok Singh of Reliance Telecom said that barring 20,000 odd subscribers, all 4.5 lakh customers had followed the direction.

“Numbers of many subscribers were barred, but activated again once they submitted fresh documents. Those who failed to comply remained de-activated. Even now, we are getting 2000-3,000 verification forms every day and hope to complete the process by tomorrow evening,” he added.

Tata Indicom, AirTel, which claims to have about 20 lakh subscribers in Bihar and Jharkhand, and a new player, AirCel, are also on the job.

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