Thursday, August 21, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Mobile phone services for J&K launched
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 20
The much awaited mobile phone service was launched in Jammu and Kashmir by the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, when he made the inaugural call to the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, from here this evening.

The Union Minister of State for Communication and Information Technology, Mr Ashok Pradhan, who had earlier arrived here for the launch ceremony, presented a cellphone to the Chief Minister at 5 p.m. today. Mufti Sayeed made his inaugural call to the Prime Minister, in New Delhi that marked the launch of the service. The inaugural call was made through video conferencing facility arranged by the NIC for the occasion.

“Der ayad drust ayad” (better late than never) said the Chief Minister, while speaking to Mr Vajpayee and thanked him for removing, what the people of the state perceived as discrimination on account of the service, coinciding with the auspicious day of Janmashthami. He said this step would help in strengthening and carrying forward the peace process.

Seeking the Prime Minister’s intervention to extend the mobile phone facility to other towns of the state, the Chief Minister also demanded early sanction of community information centres on the pattern of North-East.

The Prime Minister, responding to the Chief Minister, said that the Central Government was making efforts to improve connectivity with Jammu and Kashmir, be it telecommunication, road or rail. He said he had stated from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day that atmosphere was changing in Jammu and Kashmir, which was evident by so many happenings. He specifically mentioned about the large crowds that were seen outside counters for receiving forms for cellphones at Srinagar and at Jammu.

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