As many as 4,000 passports were delivered in the Kashmir Valley post August 5, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Rajya Sabha on Thursday and appreciated India Post for its good services in Jammu and Kashmir despite difficult circumstances. "I want to place on record my appreciation of the Postal Department people who, in spite of difficult circumstances, delivered the goods. They also delivered nearly 4,000 passports in the Valley issued since August 5," he said during Question Hour.
Replying to a supplementary, he said there are 1,694 post offices in Jammu and Kashmir including 698 in Kashmir and added that 2,948 articles were booked and 7,052 were delivered in August.
Prasad said a total of "16,082 banking transactions with a value of Rs 22.98 crore were done in August and subsequently Rs 94 crore and then Rs 121 crore worth of transactions were done." He said there was no suspension of postal services in Kashmir post August 5.
Vandana Chavan (NCP) during a supplementary asked whether the minister's reply was correct or India Post's.
She cited a reply by India Post Office to a tweet by Hyderabad-based activist Srinivas Kodali on August 11 on whether postal services are available in Kashmir, in which it said: "No. Until further orders." To this, the minister said he would look into the matter.
During Question Hour, he said, "Postal services remained unhindered. In August, a good amount of postal services were delivered. There was no dislocation per se."
However, to regulate the inward mail traffic and electronic money orders, the Department of Posts temporarily suspended booking and transmission of speed post, registration post and parcels from August 5 to August 18 and booking of electronic money orders to Kashmir from August 13 to 27 on account of operations reasons, he said.
He said the Department of Posts resumed inward mail services to Kashmir from the rest of country from August 19 and electronic money orders from August 28. Prasad said the government took various steps for functioning of post offices to service courts and other institutions.
Both wings of High Court of Jammu & Kashmir i.e. Jammu wing and Srinagar wing and all the district courts in Jammu and Kashmir regions have been functioning normally before and after August 5, he said. In reply to another query, he said health services and schools were functioning normally.
Replying to a supplementary, Prasad said as far as Internet was concerned it was related to security issues also as cross border activities was fuelling a toxic atmosphere.
He said: Of late, many of services are internet based and for reasons of security, etc., they were suspended. But we have alternative means of delivery of those articles because of other digital channels available to us which we sought to rely upon. Many times even the personal delivery was made."