BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa High Court has admitted a PIL against indiscriminate distribution of SIM cards by telecom companies without any check or proper verification, posing serious threat to National security.
The PIL filed by activists Ashok Nanda, Akhand, Dr Madhusudan and others assumes significance in the face of heightened security concerns in the State due to Nabakalebara festival of Lord Jagannath that is set to go underway from June this year. With around 50 lakh devotees, pilgrims and tourists expected to visit Puri during the period, the issue needs to be addressed urgently, the petitioners have stated.
They alleged that SIM cards of all mobile operators were freely available in market and were pushed by retailers without much insistence on verifying the identity of subscribers. It is a massive well-oiled racket operating with direct complicity of operators due to business interests.
In Odisha alone, at least 10 lakh SIM cards are sold every month. A major chunk is pre-activated and distributed against forged identity cards without any effort to verify the genuineness of the customer. If the sale of SIM cards till date is taken into account, the subscriber base of mobile operators would be many times the total population of Odisha.
While this directly points to the unholy operations, the consequences could be disastrous as the SIMs can easily fall into the hands of terrorists and criminals. Being fully aware of security concerns, the act of the companies cannot be condoned.
The petitioners have appealed to the High Court to direct TRAI to take stringent action to curb the menace and make mobile operators accountable for their subscribers.