An employees’ union on Monday demanded that the Centre sanction soft loans to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) to revive it.
Addressing reporters at the Trichy Press Club on Monday, All India Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited Executives’ Association (AIBSNLEA) general secretary S Sivakumar said there was a planned false propaganda going on to defame the image of BSNL. “Our debts are way lower than the debts of our rival private telecommunication service providers. BSNL’s crisis can be fixed by infusing soft loans and revival package to strengthen our operations,” he said.
The union demanded that the department of telecommunications (DoT) sanction 4Gspectrum to BSNL immediately to survive in the telecom sector.
“Access deficit charge which was assured to be paid for BSNL in providing services in rural and tribal areas was withdrawn from July 2011. Our reserves were exhausted by paying Rs 18,500 crore for 3G spectrum and Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) spectrum charges on the highest bidding charges to DoT. Such reasons led BSNL to make a continuous loss,” Sivakumar added.
Acknowledging that the tough financial situation was taking a toll on carrying out periodical maintenance, the union demanded that DoT revive BSNL with a financial support to retain the existing customer base.
While employees cost is blamed for the downfall of BSNL, members of the AIBSNLEA denied the allegation and said that the employee strength has come down from three lakh in 2005 to 1.63 lakh in 2019. “We are very hopeful that the central government will provide us with the required financial support,” S Kamaraj, state assistant secretary, AIBSNLEA said.