Pre-paid mobile phones are set to ring again in Jammu and Kashmir with the central government deciding to allow the service's resumption in the first week of next month.

A senior state government official Wednesday told IANS the decision to withdraw the

two-month ban on pre-paid mobile phones was taken in New Delhi at a high-level meeting chaired by union home secretary G.K. Pillai early this week.

The meeting was attended by senior state government officers, including chief secretary S.S. Kapoor and state intelligence chief K. Rajendra.

“The ban is being lifted in the first week of next month and by that time the various service providers will have foolproof verification mechanism in place in the state,” the officer said.

“Strict instructions have been issued to the various mobile companies operating in the state to ensure proper verification mechanism to check the antecedents of the new and old service users,” he added.

“The service will resume in the first week of January,” the officer said.

The central government had banned pre-paid mobile phones in the state on security grounds from Nov 1, but the move had evoked severe criticism from various political parties, including the state's ruling National Conference.

The ban had affected nearly four million pre-paid mobile users in the state and thousands of youth involved in the business here.

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