by Saima Bhat
SRINAGAR: It has been five years since the telegram service was closed down in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. But the government officials still claims it is using the service. The claim came from the state assembly, the epicentre of power.
In the one day session of Jammu and Kashmir assembly which was held on Thursday afternoon for the election of the speaker of the house, the opposition party members were demanding the delay of the election as most of their members were unaware of the house session. Reason being they were not communicated in time.
The senior most member of main opposition party, the National Conference Muhammad Shafi Urvi, while consulting the statute book of the house, said the session can be delayed because their party chief Omar Abdullah was not available in the region. “We have many important members who live far away from Srinagar and they could not make it to the house.”
The NC was insisting that while the governor summoned the House a day ahead of the schedule, they should have got a bit more days to reach Srinagar. Prominent absentees from the House including Nawang Rigzin Jora, Omar Abdullah, Altaf Kaloo and a few more.
But Nazir Gurezi, the deputy speaker of the house, repeatedly mentioned: “all the members of the house were sent a telegram, a few were informed on the phone and a few were sent messages using internet by the Governor’s office.”
Independent lawmaker Engineer Rasheed said that the members have been informed on the internet but they do not know Kashmir lives in the Stone Age as the internet has been withdrawn at many places.
There was nobody in the house who could inform the deputy speaker that the telegram services are dead since July 2013.
The service, a system of urgent message delivery served the state for about 119 years. In Jammu and Kashmir, the initiative to have telegram service was taken by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1877 after he ordered to establish a telegraph line between the two major cities of Jammu and Srinagar and rest of the country.
It took the Maharaja about 17 long years to complete the telegraphic line between Kashmir and Jammu and rest of country. The service was launched in 1894 in Jammu.
But the advent of new technologies has changed the way people used to communicate and stay in touch. E-mail continues to be the fastest and now even WhatsApp is much faster. It was in wake of these developments that the Department of Posts and Telegraphs have withdrawn the service in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.