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No internet in Kashmir hospitals despite government claim

IANS/Srinagar
Filed on January 2, 2020
kashmir, internet blocked, india, CAA, article 370

(AFP file)

The Internet blackout has caused job losses in mobile phone sector.

Despite government's claim that Internet has been restored in most hospitals and health centres in Kashmir, the facility is yet to be restored in most hospitals.

The announcement to restore the Internet on new year's eve in hospitals in Kashmir was made by government spokesperson Rohit Kansal at a press conference in Jammu on December 31.

A police statement on January 2 also claimed that broadband has been restored in Kashmir hospitals.

"Broadband high speed Internet connectivity restored at 80 government hospitals including health centres and offices linked to Department of health across Kashmir valley," the statement said.

Principal, Government Medical College, Srinagar, Parvez Shah told IANS that Internet couldn't be restored in SMHS hospital in Srinagar due to snapping of phone lines.

"We have been without the Internet for five months. The phone lines at SMHS are dead," Shah said. He hoped that the restoration of phone lines and the Internet will begin by the evening.

"The Internet has however been restored at the Government Chest diseases hospital in Srinagar," he said.

In other hospitals, the situation is no different.

In JLNM hospital, at Rainawari, the Internet continues to remain suspended.

JLNM Superintendnt said they are awaiting the restoration of the facility after the government's announcement.

While the Internet continues to remain shut in most Government Medical Colleges and associated hospitals, Kashmir's lone tertiary hospital SKIIMS has limited connectivity.

"Ayushman Bharat scheme connection is working besides a couple of kiosks set up a fortnight ago for doctors and staff," Farooq Jan, Medical Superintendent, SKIIMS told IANS.

Director, Health Kashmir, Sameer Matoo told IANS that the problem is mostly due to non-payment of bills and faults in the phone lines.

"The main reason the Internet hasn't been restored yet is due to non-payment of the bills and snapping of the phone lines," Mattoo said.

The suspension of Internet in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5 has inflicted unprecedented sufferings on people and caused immense loss to the business.

The Internet blackout has also caused job losses in mobile phone sector, online trading and shopping and tourism.

The health sector in Kashmir has been one of the worst hit as patients couldn't benefit from health schemes like Ayushman Bharat and online consultations.

However, a government statement maintained that 80 broadband Internet connections have been restored in hospitals and health centres in Kashmir.



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