Internet ban hits common people, biz in Noida, Ghaziabad



 For Bharat, a 22-year-old tea seller in Noida sector 16, the business has not been "as usual" in the past two days. Suspension of internet has affected his business, just like hundred others.

"They first asked us to upgrade. We switched to e-payment options. The internet is not working for the past two days," he said.

When prodded, he said around 90 per cent of his customers were youth. "They have smartphones and make payments through that. They don't carry cash. Now I have to keep the record of money to be collected from them," he said.

The tea seller, from the Gaya district of Bihar, said he bought tea, sugar milk and other items every day with the money he earned the previous day.

"The customers tell me I should collect money from them later. But I can't do the same myself. I need to pay for the daily purchases.

"Who knows who long this will continue. I got to know they shut internet in Kashmir and never restored it," he said.

As a precautionary measure, the administration has shut internet in parts of Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad.

The feeling was echoed by a petrol pump staff at Vaishali in Ghaziabad. "Online payments are easy and used frequently. More people are switching to it.

"There is no other petrol pump in the radius of 3-4 km. So, people are either buying less fuel due to less cash in hand or return without fuel. It's not just affecting our business, but also causing distress to people."

Said Praveen Khandelwal, National Secretary-General of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the internet connectivity issues in the last few days had affected business.

"While on many occasions, buyers and sellers could not touch base, there were issues related to payments and transportation of goods too. We are seeing it getting normal from today (Saturday)," said Khandelwal.

"Trade and business also get affected in Delhi when internet in other parts, say, for example, in Lucknow, is shut. For the business to be smooth, both buyers and suppliers need a proper communication system." Khandelwal remarked.

It's hit the common man too. "Can you imagine doing anything without internet," asked Anjana Anand, a 25-year-old working professional from the area.

"I need to book a cab for going to office and returning home. I order lunch and dinner as well as other daily essentials online. Do they realise how difficult it's to live without internet," she said.

Says Manish Sharma, a resident of Ghaziabad, "I am not able to order my dinner. Even when I did manage to place an order with a friend's help, the food company said the delivery executives are not able to deliver as they couldn't access internet".

On the administration's stand that it's required to curb rumours and fake news, said 40-year-old Deepika Sharma, "We don't just receive rumours online, but also credible information. How will I know which route to take for smooth commuting.

"Also, my children share their live locations whenever they are getting late for home. How will I know they are safe when there is no internet. I can't call them every two minutes."

Said, 50-year-old Gaurav, "I don't depend much on internet. But I will say suspending internet is not of any help. If the government thinks we only receive fake news or rumours, then there should be some known-to-all mediums to check or inform about rumours.

"It will be same like telling people not to step out of their homes as rapes and thefts are happening on the road."IANS