New Delhi: As the Centre pitched for thorough and quick subscriber verification exercise for security reasons, telecom operators on Wednesday assured the government of their cooperation in getting details of customers but asked the home ministry to ensure cellphone users were not harassed by the police, reports Times of India.
So far, nearly 30 lakh cellphone subscribers have been disconnected from their respective networks across the country due to either incomplete or unverified customer details. The issue relating to subscriber verification, especially in the states, where the operators claimed that the involvement of police has been creating problems, came up for discussion in a meeting of telecom operators, led by Bharti Group chairman Sunil Mittal, with the Union home secretary G K Pillai on Wednesday.
The operators, sources said, informed Pillai that subscribers were being asked to be present at police stations for verification and termed it as harassment. There seems to be lack of coordination between the Centre and the states over the mechanism to be followed to complete the verification process. They also said that the steps followed by some states for subscriber verification were not in conformity with the guidelines issued by the department of telecom (DoT) and asked the government to look into it.
The subscriber verification has become a major issue in the wake of security threat and use of cellphones by terrorists for carrying out their terror operations in India. “We are willing to work with the government to address security concerns but we want that there is proper coordination between the Centre and states and the verification is as per the guidelines of the DoT”, the director general of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) Rajan Mathews said as quoted by a news agency.
This comes on heels of home ministry's direction to the DoT with regard to import of telecom equipments and also controversy over BlackBerry operations over monitoring of content. India has nearly 700 million telecom subscribers both in GSM and CDMA space. The operators are facing some problems in case of old subscribers when the verification norms were not so strict.