Successive regimes have failed to provide the much needed telecom facility to the thousands of people living in villages near Line of Control as authorities have failed to arrange any alternate means of communication instead of mobile phones.
Sources told Greater Kashmir the process to install new mobile towers has not got clearance from security agencies and it has got stuck in the official wrangles.
Dozens of villages in Pir Panchal region, including Nah, Dhar Patni, Gandey, Ambkhori, Balwal, Ghani, Deeing, Mangioti, Kalal, Gagrote, Daryalla, Hanjana, Manpur, Ganya, Sehr Makri, Saryah, Anwas Bhandar, Mohra Kampala, Loraka, Lam Pukharni, Rajawa, Androoth and Pogla, Doongi Manyala, Nambla, Meyari, Ponthal, Mithi Dhara, Thathyali, Jhallas, Bagla, Androoth, Rechva, Basali, Thandi Kassi, Veer Badeshwar, are without telecom facility. Similarly in Poonch district, Bandi, Chechian, Saujiyan, Gagrian and others in Saujiyan belt have no telecom facilities.
Sources revealed that mobile towers cannot be installed in the areas close to LoC as reach of mobile signal to the Pakistani side can create a major security problem. "Time and again proposals have been mooted to install mobile towers in these areas but most of the times proposal either got rejected or are still stuck in the process of getting clearance from security agencies," sources claimed.
"If government is really serious to connect the people of these frontier villages with rest of the world it can arrange alternate means of communication on community, locality or mohalla level to ensure that thousands of people living along LoC are not deprived of this vital facility in today's era," said Subash Kumar from Doongi.
"We understand problem of government cannot install mobile towers along LoC as it is a major security concern but it should look for alternate means of communication," he said.
" Government should set up special phone lines on village or mohalla level and special phone booths should be established so that people can contact the outside world, " said Javed Ahmed of Mendhar.
When contacted Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Rajouri, Mumtaz Ali Chowdhary, said that many a times people of the border villages have approached district administration with the demand related to telecom network and the same demands stand forwarded to government. "This issue is not in the hands of district administration and we can only forward the memorandums and demands of public to higher ups," he added.