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A train to internet-Lifeline for students, traders

Srinagar, Dec 18: Every time Muneer Ahmad, 18, visited internet kiosk at Baramulla Deputy Commissioner’s office, he would spent hours in a queue but only to return without submitting post-matric scholarship form.

Dejected, Ahmad had almost given up the idea of applying for scholarship until his uncle suggested him to visit Banihal.  Call it his good fortune, the government recently resumed train service to Banihal, where the broadband service has been functional.


“Next morning I took a train to Banihal. I was surprised to see that many students with their forms for NEET and other courses had also boarded train to Banihal,” he said.

Visiting Banihal has become a routine for many students like Ahmad who desperately want to use internet. For the last four months, the internet blockade has hit ever strata of society particularly students and business community of Kashmir.

Students said accessing internet at government offices is a very “cumbersome” task.  Hundreds of students have been making beeline every day at Baramulla Deputy Commissioner’s office to file different forms for education, jobs and scholarships. Similarly, students of other districts face same problems

“There are very few internet facilitation centers when compared to the students applying for various courses,” said Mohammad Yasir Rather, a NEET aspirant who visited Banihal to submit his form.

To meet deadline of filing Good and Service Tax (GST) returns, rush of traders have also increased at Banihal internet cafes. “Many traders are visiting Banihal to file their GST returns.  Banihal is the nearest place to Kashmir where broadband services are working,” said Nisar Ahmad, a trader.

More than a dozen internet cafes have come up in Banihal after resumption of train services.  Students and traders are being charged Rs 300 per hour for using internet at these cafes.