Aarogya Setu app turns defunct amid internet shutdown

‘Our fight against COVID19 pandemic has taken a hit’
Aarogya Setu app turns defunct amid internet shutdown
Representational Pic

The AarogyaSetu app launched by the Centre for tracking user's location and contact history, amid the coronavirus pandemic, has become defunct for 2.55 lakh users in the Valley due to the internet shutdown.

The app needs an active internet connection to keep track ofapp users and who they come in contact with. It alerts the user in case of aCOVID19 patient or someone with a contact history with COVID19 patients.

The central government recently made the app compulsory forboth government and private employees. Several internet users from the Valleysaid restoration of internet service should be done immediately for usage ofthe apps in the fight against COVID19.

"I downloaded this app six days ago and found it quiteuseful. I hope authorities will restore 4G internet service in the Valley soonthat we can more frequently use the app," said Zahid Ahmad, a user.

An Information Technology professional who is looking afterday-to-day operations of the app said it was proving to be helpful for people"but has been turned defunct now" due to the internet shutdown.

He said the app was based on Global Positioning System (GPS)technology and in absence of internet connection it becomes defunct.

The app has crossed 10 lakh users across Jammu and Kashmirduring last five weeks after its inauguration, said another official.

The app, which is envisaged to enable contact tracing tolimit the spread of the COVID19 outbreak, was launched by union Ministry ofInformation Technology on April 2.

Jammu city has the highest number of downloads of the app.While the entire Valley has seen 2.55 lakh of downloads so far but internetshutdown since last four days has proved to be a dampener.

"We had started aggressively promoting the app in the Valleysince last two weeks. But the internet shutdown has hit our progress," said theIT professional.

The app crossed more than 60,000 downloads in summer capitalSrinagar followed by 35,000 hits in Baramulla district, which has been one ofthe major clusters of COVID19 cases.

Recently, the AarogyaSetu app became the world's fastest appto reach five crore downloads across India in just 13 days after its launch.

Jammu and Kashmir administration has been asking peopleespecially healthcare professionals to encourage downloading of the app.However, people are unable to either access or download the app as internetservice remains suspended even after authorities restored mobile callingservice in the Valley on Friday night.

Both mobile calling on all private networks and 2G servicewas suspended by authorities on Wednesday after two encounters broke-out insouth Kashmir. Except government-owned BSN landline broadband, the service ofall private operators was suspended.

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