NEW DELHI: Parliament’s Standing Committee on Information Technology, headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, has dropped the issue of allowing 4G telecom services in Jammu and Kashmir from the agenda of the panel’s meeting to be held on September 1. This decision has been taken after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla wrote to all committee chairpersons not to take up matters which are sub-judice. The 4G issue is pending in the Supreme Court.
BJP members in the IT standing committee had objected to a discussion on this issue on the grounds that the matter is being heard by the Supreme Court. The Speaker had then written to all chairpersons, stating that as per convention, committees do not take those subjects for examination here the issue is pending in the courts”.
The IT committee had discussed the issue of providing 4G in Jammu and Kashmir in its meeting on August 20 where the IT ministry officials had said that a decision on the matter should be left to the state’s administration which can take a call on the basis of the law and order situation in the border state. The state government, headed by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, has decided to allow 4G services in one district each of Kashmir and Jammu regions based on local inputs that they are peaceful.
The Centre had taken the same stand in a hearing on August 20 in the Supreme Court.
Sources said in the committee’s sitting, BJP members Nishikant Dubey and others had said 2G services are available in the Valley and people have access to the internet though at a slower speed. The IT panel or officials sitting in the national capital should not take a decision on the matter as they would not be aware of the possible misuse of 4G services for rumour mongering and disturbing peace.
The Opposition members- including chairperson Tharoor, Shaktisinh Gohil (Congress) and Mahua Moitra (TMC)- had insisted the people of the state (including students) have a right to internet services.
The IT panel will, however, discuss the issue of “suspension of telecom services and internet in Delhi and Bihar and its impact”. Delhi had seen suspension of these services during the riots earlier this year. Representatives of DoT and Ministry of Home Affairs as well as officials from Delhi and Bihar will depose before the committee and present evidence sought by it.