Last Updated on November 6, 2023 by SPN Editor
Imphal/November 06, 2023 (SPN)| In Manipur, a contentious mobile internet shutdown, enforced for the past six months (almost 180 days), is casting a long shadow over the education of students residing in the hilly region. These regions lack access to the broadband services offered by providers like Airtel Xstream and Jio Fiber.
The origins of this Mobile Internet shutdown trace back to May 3 when the Manipur Home Department imposed the suspension of mobile internet services following a spate of violent incidents. While a semblance of normalcy eventually returned, it was short-lived as the ban was temporarily lifted on September 23.
A mere two days later, the tragic discovery of the lifeless bodies of two missing students, Phijam Hemanjit and Linthoingambi Hijam, rocked the community. The heartbreaking images were uploaded to social media, spreading like wildfire, and, in response, the Home Department swiftly reinstated the ban, which remains in effect to this day.
A report in the Sangai Express informed that Tanghiring Anal, a resident of Unopat village situated in the Chandel district, highlighted the persisting challenges brought about by the Mobile Internet shutdown.
As a result of this mobile Internet shutdown, students are grappling with difficulties in submitting various forms online, and parents and guardians are encountering obstacles when it comes to sending money to their children who are pursuing their education outside the state. The inconveniences caused by this internet restriction continue to impact the daily lives of both students and their families, emphasizing the pressing need for a resolution to this issue.
A local shop owner at Khwairamband Keithel has shed light on a persistent challenge faced by residents in Manipur. Although some areas have the privilege of Airtel Xstream Fiber and Jio Fiber connections within the confines of their homes, the moment they step outside, their internet access is severely restricted.
Furthermore, the convenience of making online payments at local shops in Manipur has regrettably become a thing of the past. This shift in the payment is not only affecting residents but also creating hurdles for visitors from outside Manipur.
When these visitors attempt to purchase items through online payment methods, they are confronted with the inconvenience of having to locate the nearest ATM, as online payment is no longer a viable option.
The mobile internet shutdown has also had a profound impact on the emotional well-being of parents, who can no longer check in on their children through video calls. Moreover, online payments for sending money have become an obsolete option, giving rise to the inconvenience of frequent trips to local banks.
These issues have ignited calls for the State Government to restore mobile internet services and, thereby, alleviate the hardships faced by students and their families in these remote regions. The ban’s implications extend further to individuals like Mangsatabam (Ongbi) Chitra Leima, who can no longer ensure their children’s welfare through video calls. Consequently, they are passionately urging the Home Department to revisit the ban’s necessity.
Even in areas where Airtel Xstream Fiber and Jio Fiber connections are available, residents confront the harsh reality of limited internet access once they step beyond their doorsteps. Moreover, online payments at local shops have become a thing of the past, causing disruption and frustration for residents and visitors alike.
The State Government initially lifted the ban on broadband services on July 25, and since then, Bharti Airtel Limited’s Manipur Branch has embarked on an ambitious mission to establish Airtel Xstream Fiber connections in government departments, private institutions, and homes.
These broadband connections, dubbed Fiber To The Home (FTTH), were introduced in Manipur on September 21, 2021, positively impacting various districts. Nevertheless, they remain an elusive commodity in several hill districts.
To acquire an Airtel Xstream Fiber connection, residents can choose from a range of packages, including options like Rs 3004 for 6 months (40 Mbps), Rs 2829 (100 Mbps) for 3 months, Rs 3537 (200 Mbps) for 3 months, or Rs 5307 (300 Mbps) for three months.
The installation of these connections is complimentary, and the waiting period for new connections has been significantly reduced to a mere 3 to 4 days.