SRINAGAR: Four villages in Sopore, located in the Baramulla district of north Kashmir, are still without mobile connectivity, even two decades after the facility was introduced in the valley.

Marbal, Cherihar, Kawool, and Pahiwar villages have remained untouched by the modern marvels of mobile connectivity. These villages, known for their serene landscapes, flourishing orchards, and close-knit communities, are located at distances of 35, 20, 22, and 35 kilometers, respectively, from the Sopore sub-division.

The residents of Marbal village said that while the world is witnessing the advent of 5G internet connectivity, their village is still yearning for basic cellular network coverage to make a simple phone call.

“This lack of technological advancement has not only hindered our access to information but also impeded our overall development,” they said. “Students face difficulties in accessing educational resources, farmers struggle to connect with potential buyers for their produce, and healthcare services are often inaccessible due to the lack of immediate communication.”

Tariq Ahmed of Cherhar mentioned that they approached the administration and requested mobile connectivity for their village, but their pleas went unanswered. He added that bureaucratic rules and the remoteness of the village have made it challenging for the government to promptly address their concerns.

“In this digital era, we are struggling for mobile network connectivity. This is keeping us away from several government-sponsored schemes aimed at uplifting rural areas,” said Rubeena, a Sarpanch in Marbal. She further stated, “We have repeatedly filed applications at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office regarding this issue, but no action has been taken on the ground.”

Similarly, a group of students revealed that they have to travel at least 12 kilometers to the Shiva area from Marbal just to download study-related materials, examination date sheets, and other important online documents.

The residents of these villages are once again appealing to the administration to install mobile connectivity towers to alleviate their difficulties.

In May, following the intervention of the Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla, cell phones started ringing in the tourist destination of Rampura in the Sopore hills. On 8 November 2022, DC Sehrish Asgar directed the telecom authorities to provide mobile connectivity to the uncovered rural areas of the district, including the Rampura Rajpora hamlet.

The Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) of Sopore, S A Raina, informed KNO that they will look into the matter.

“Recently, connectivity towers were installed in two locations in the higher reaches of Sopore, connecting them to the mobile world. The same will be done in these villages soon,” the ADC said. (KNO)

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