Kashmiris Google to find information on Covid-19, low-speed plays spoilsport

Amid looming coronavirus threat, people in Kashmir are frantically searching on Google to find out information on Covid-19, but the low-speed internet comes in way. After the closure of the schools and colleges in the wake of coronavirus scare, the students find it hard to study online, courtesy low speed internet.

Shafeeq Ahmad, a Srinagar resident said in these trying times the high speed internet must be restored.

A senior doctor from SMHS on the basis of anonymity said that “Kashmiris are furiously Googling to seek information about coronavirus, but unfortunately the law speed mars them.”

On 11 March the World Health Organization termed the outbreak as a global pandemic. “Soon after the announcement, Jammu and Kashmir furiously Googled the word (pandemic), to understand the extent of the outbreak,” the doctor said, adding that “it topped the district in India searching for the meaning of pandemic”.

“Because of the Internet hindrances we (the doctors) are unable to get updated about the spread of coronavirus or access online advice, not to talk of common people,” he said.

Meanwhile, many users said that they were hopeful of restoration of high speed mobile internet as the review meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.  “We are hopeful that in the wake of global outbreak of the coronavirus, the high speed Internet will be restored in Tuesday’s review meeting,” said a group of undergraduate doctors.

Muhammad Maroof, an uptown Srinagar resident said that in other countries the cellular companies have announced “free high-speed internet service for 60 days” to students as many schools and colleges there have temporarily closed or switch to online classes in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

“It is surprisingly that in such a situation we are denied the high speed internet,” he said, adding that thousands of students are confined to their homes now-a-days. “They need to learn and read online since their schools have been closed.”

The high speed mobile internet service remains suspended in the Kashmir valley since August 5 last year, when the Central Government abrogated special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two Union Territories. The broadband, fixed line internet service and the 2G mobile internet, however, are functioning for the past over a month. The government lifted ban on all social media network though users “are being closely monitored by Cyber Police Station, Kashmir Zone”.

The next meeting of UT administration will be held on March 17 (Tuesday) to decide further course of action in regard to restoration of the full speed internet.  The Supreme Court had directed the UT administration to hold review meeting on internet ban.

“At this point I can’t say anything about decision in coming review meeting,” a senior official said. “Any development can take place.”