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Low speed internet fails to cheer up e-commerce sector in Kashmir


Srinagar, Feb 7: Kashmir’s fledgling e-commerce sector continues to bleed as 2G internet has failed to resuscitate their business.  
After nearly six month long wait, government relaxed restrictions by restoring low speed 2G internet. The e-commerce outlet owners, however, claim that their businesses have not reported any activity since their websites are not accessible to customers.
After restoration of 2G internet, only few e-commerce sites including global giant Amazon is functioning in the valley.  Majority of the e-commerce sites don’t function either due to the low speed or they have not been included in the white- listed sites.
Umar Bin Ahmad, who ran an online venture `Modest Attire’ with global operations, said his business suffered more than 300 per cent loss after August 5.
 “The restoration of 2G internet proved more harmful for e-commerce sector in Kashmir. We often get queries from our outside state based clients, who blame us for not responding to them. Kashmir’s e-commerce mostly functions on social media sites like Instagram, which too is blocked in the valley,” he said.
 Ahmad said he couldn’t update his website and android application on low speed internet due to which he was losing his customer base.  “Normally I would get at least 50-60 orders which have now fallen to just one per day,” he added.
Haseeb Ahmad who owns an online book shop Lal Chowk. in, said he has changed his mode of operation from online orders to SMS. “I would receive orders for almost 400 books every day. Now, I ship merely 100 books to different locations in Kashmir and other parts of the country. I now receive orders over a phone or via SMS,” he said.
Ahmad noted surprisingly, some global websites likely swiggy and zomato have been whitelisted despite the fact that they don’t function here. “Our sites do not feature in the whitelisted websites,” he said.
According to official figures, there are around 20,000 BSNL broadband connections in Kashmir valley and a majority of them are shut. Many of them provide internet services to offices, business establishments, shops and even government offices.