Broadband internet services were restored in 80 government hospitals and nursing homes in Kashmir on Thursday, officials said, a move which is being seen as a big relief for patients and healthcare professionals in the Valley.
Medical Superintendent of Chest Disease hospital in Srinagar Saleem Tak confirmed that the internet started working in the facility on Thursday “which is a big relief to us as well as for patients”.
An official of the Jammu and Kashmir administration said, “Broadband high-speed internet connectivity was restored at 80 government hospitals, including health centres and offices linked to the department of health, across Kashmir.”
The internet services were to start at the government-run hospitals from midnight of December 31 but it could not resume due to some technical issues, officials said.
Tak said the restoration of internet facilities will help hospitals to update their patient care records, especially about centrally-sponsored schemes like the Ayushman Bharat.
“It will help poor patients to receive medical facilities free of cost,” he told PTI.
“Now we can consult other doctors across India and the world for seeking guidance related to patient care and also updating our system for which internet is necessary,” he said.
Principal of Government Medical College in Srinagar Pervez Shah also confirmed that internet was working at seven hospitals out of the eight associated facilities.
Work was on for restoration on internet services in one nursing home, he added. Internet services, landline and mobile phones were snapped across Jammu and Kashmir on August 4, a day before the Centre’s announcement to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divide it into two union territories.
Though most services, except mobile internet, were restored in Jammu within a week, Kashmir saw landlines and post-paid services being restored in phases. However, the internet and pre-paid mobile services that constitute the major part in the valley are yet to be restored.
Mobile Internet services were restored in Kargil district of Ladakh last Friday after remaining suspended for 145 days. The services were restored in view of complete normalcy returning to Kargil, with no untoward incident taking place over the past four months, officials had said.
India has become the first democratic country to snap internet services for more than 150 days in a state. The step has attracted criticism from the international community as it is seen as a violation of human rights. In 2011, United Nations had declared that disconnecting people from the internet is a human rights violation and against international law. However, the government maintains its stand that it is a preventative measure.