Trade bodies and tourism players on Saturday welcomed the restoration of 4G mobile internet services in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it will boost economic recovery in the union territory. High-speed mobile internet services were restored last midnight in 18 districts.
"It is better late than never. The government has realised how much losses our economy has suffered. This move will give a boost to the economic recovery now," president, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Sheikh Aashiq told PTI. "Every sector was affected, especially our export-oriented industry which officially declined 40-50 per cent due to its non-availability. The low speed 2G services did not serve the purpose," he said.
Restoration of high-speed mobile internet would especially help the young, budding, entrepreneurs who are dependent on social media, he said. "Though the government has realised it now, the impact of non-availability of high-speed internet will last long. It will last until the government realises how to boost them, to provide them sops or cushion for running their businesses," he said.
Aashiq said education was one of the most important sectors which suffered a great deal over the last year-and-a-half. He hoped that the security situation remains good so that these services continue without any interruption.
The valley's tourism industry termed it a big confidence-building measure for tourism and other sectors. "The tourism fraternity and all the stakeholders thank the government for the restoration of 4G services in J-K. It is a welcome step and a big confidence building measure for tourism and allied sectors," said Asif Burza, a hotelier and president of Pahalgam Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association.
He said the move will not only give a sense of confidence to the tourists, but will also help the industry in providing better logistics and services. Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) termed the restoration of 4G internet as helpful for the student community.
"The 4G internet will definitely help our students who had been at a huge disadvantage over the last so many months. It was kind of a collective punishment to us for no fault and it pushed us years back. Our schools suffered, other educational institutes suffered as no one could work at its optimum," said PSAJK president G N Var. He, however, said the government could have shown a small courtesy by announcing its restoration with a small apology. "Like Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), the PSAJK had been at the forefront of a legal battle to restore 4G internet and the hearing with regards to its petition in the Supreme Court was due next week. The government pre-empted the hearing because on what basis could they have again banned it. "On the one hand they say the situation is normal and on the other the reason for the 4G ban was that the situation is not normal in Kashmir," he said.
The association also demanded compensation for the loss caused due to internet blockade.