The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Valley cell blip

Jammu, July 3: Cell phones are unlikely to beep in Jammu and Kashmir soon.

Although deputy Prime Minister .K. Advani yesterday announced that the home minister has cleared the use of mobile phones in the troubled state, the nod hasn’t yet come from the telecommunications department.

Advani, who also holds the home portfolio, had added that a final decision on starting the mobile network in the border state would be taken after the armed forces clear the proposal. The army and security forces fighting militancy have raised a host of objections against the launch of this service.

BSNL chief general manager Arun Kumar said they were waiting for the clearance from the telecommunication department. “We are ready and the whole infrastructure is in place and the mobile phones can start beeping in a day’s notice after we get the clearance.”

BSNL was ready to launch the service in April but, days before, instructions were issued asking the department to put it on hold.

Kumar was speaking at a news conference called to clarify the status of the launch of cellular services in the backdrop of media speculation over what was holding up the service. He agreed that the state was being discriminated against as the other border states in the country were using these services. But he did not want to talk at length on the topic as there were many factors involved in it.

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