Thursday, January 21, 2010

pre-paid ban revoked

New Delhi, Jan 21: The Centre today lifted the ban on prepaid mobile phones in Jammu and Kashmir, but set down several stringent guidelines for identity verification of subscribers. The ban had been imposed in November last year by the Union Home Ministry citing security reasons. “The telecom operators must follow stringent identity checks of prepaid mobile subscribers - whether existing or new,” a Home Ministry official said. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had taken up the issue with the Centre and had demanded that the ban be revoked.
“The Telecom Ministry has laid new guidelines for re-verification of existing subscribers and verification of new subscribers for both prepaid and postpaid SIM cards,” said a Telecom Ministry statement.
Mobile service providers have to “adhere scrupulously” to the new guidelines, it said. The ban had triggered protests in the state with the state government and several political parties opposing it.
The National Panthers Party had also challenged the ban order in the Supreme Court. The Centre in an affidavit before the apex court had justified its decision saying that it had received intelligence inputs that proper verification of the subscribers was not being done while providing pre-paid mobile connections. It had even contended that imposition of the ban had a significant impact on the communication networks of militants and anti-national elements, who had been using fraudulently obtained pre-paid connections. The next hearing has been fixed for January 25. However, the decision to lift the ban was taken after discussions with the state government and its commitment to ensure proper verification of subscribers in the state, the official said.

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