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Jammu and Kashmir: Omar Abdullah revokes ban on prepaid SMS to win over people

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 - 7:20am IST | Place: Srinagar | Agency: dna

Rattled by the drubbing in the parliamentary polls, Omar Abdullah government on Tuesday lifted the four year ban on the Short Message Service (SMS) on prepaid cell phones in a bid to woo the people ahead of the assembly polls stated later this year.

"The subscribers of pre-paid cell phones had made requests to the chief minister Omar Abdullah in this regard. He issued instructions to the agencies concerned to lift the restriction," said an official spokesman.

SMS services were banned in Kashmir at the peak of 'pro-azadi' agitation in June owing to the fears that these are being used to pent up emotions by spreading rumors. However, the government lifted the ban on post paid SMS' six months later owing to the improvement in the situation.

"The ban has been lifted from today (Tuesday). There was no relevance of ban since there are other ways like whatsap services available," Suresh Kumar, J&K home secretary told dna.

The lifting of ban will benefit millions of prepaid subscribers in the restive Jammu and Kashmir. Seventy per cent of the total mobile subscribers are using prepaid services in Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision to revoke ban comes days after Omar Abdullah sought people's suggestions on email as a part of the process to win over electorate before the assembly polls.

"1700+ emails still to be read. I've read and acknowledged 100's. Bear with me, I'll read and acknowledge all," Omar tweeted.

As a part of the new initiative, Omar is scrapping the three year old job policy in a bid to woo the youth back to the party fold. However, the scrapping of the policy has huge financial implications as it will cost the state government hundreds of crores of rupees.

Under the job policy, the new appointees in Class-III and Class-IV categories in government sector is entitled to a fixed monthly salary equivalent to 50 per cent of the basic pay for two years and 75 percent of the basic pay during another three years. An employee would get full salary after five years and will not be eligible for pension also "I am bringing a proposal to the J&K cabinet on Wednesday and I'm proposing scrapping the 'New Recruitment Policy' with immediate effect," Omar tweeted.

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