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Many lose jobs, migrate due to internet shutdown in Kashmir

The Internet shutdown since August 5--when special status of the J&K was revoked and the state was downgraded into two Union Territories--put these youngsters in extreme financial and psychological distress as they would otherwise earn good money ...

, ET Bureau|
Nov 14, 2019, 06.39 PM IST
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PTI
internet-shutdown-PTI
J&K administration repeatedly vows to ensure jobs for youngsters and launches various schemes for skill enhancement. However, it is silent on when the ongoing Internet gag, which resulted in job cuts, will be lifted.
SRINAGAR: The Internet shutdown in Kashmir over the past 100 days has rendered several software engineers and those who developed content for online platforms, jobless. This blackout has forced many among these youngsters to either migrate to other states and look for new job opportunities or ensure their presence online to earn a living.

The Internet shutdown since August 5--when special status of the J&K was revoked and the state was downgraded into two Union Territories--put these youngsters in extreme financial and psychological distress as they would otherwise earn good money working remotely from home for different companies across the globe.

For 25-year-old Salman Mehraj from Srinagar who developed video content for a Chinese company, would ensure him a monthly salary of Rs 40,000. He also roped in his cousins to work online, while pursuing their studies. They also earned around Rs 10,000 per month.

“I uploaded travel and food videos for my company. With no Internet after August 5, I not only lost a part of my salary but opportunities to join other companies,” said Mehraj, who travelled to Delhi a few times to upload food and travel videos in past three months. Mehraj says that many of his acquaintances who, developed content for online platforms, lost jobs as there is serious competition in this field as well. “The key is to remain online which we cannot do in Kashmir. I lost a contract with another company as I couldn’t reply to mails despite repeated reminders,” he said.

Kashmir reports one of the highest government enforced Internet shutdowns across the globe and the ongoing communication blockade results in huge job cuts in private sector.

28-year-old, Talha Syed, a software engineer from Srinagar moved to Delhi along with his wife in last week of August. He works with a software company in Bangalore.

“I cannot go back to Kashmir unless and until Internet is not restored. I had to start my life afresh and it is extremely hectic,” said Syed, who now books different co-working spaces available in Delhi to work.

“I can afford to remain offline for sometime and do the background work, but many people have to collaborate with the team and remain online to complete a project. They either had to lose their jobs or move to a new city,” said Syed.

Another recently married couple, both computer engineers from Srinagar, worked from home. They had to migrate to Delhi to ensure they remain employed.

“I earned Rs 30,000 per month, working from home. I would do all the background research and communication for different projects for a Delhi based company,” said Nafeesa Rashid, a homemaker, who hasn’t been able to earn a penny for three months now.

J&K administration repeatedly vows to ensure jobs for youngsters and launches various schemes for skill enhancement. However, it is silent on when the ongoing Internet gag, which resulted in job cuts, will be lifted.

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