Saturday, May 14, 2022

BSNL employees union writes to PM Modi protesting BSNL-MTNL merger

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New Delhi: BSNL employees union has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday requesting his intervention in the proposed BSNL-MTNL merger. The union has said that the merger of BSNL and MTNL will do irreparable damage to the revival of BSNL. "We fervently appeal to you to kindly drop the proposal to merge MTNL with BSNL. Alternatively, the government should take over MTNL’s debt of Rs 26,000 crore. In addition to this, the government should also provide sufficient financial assistance to BSNL, for the rehabilitation of the networks of MTNL. This demand is being raised because, both the mobile, as well as landline networks of MTNL are in a dilapidated condition," it said.

Demanding financial assistance to BSNL, the employees union has said that "BSNL employees are genuinely concerned that, the merger of MTNL with BSNL will certainly ruin the financial condition of the latter. Due to this reason, right from the beginning, the employees of BSNL have been firmly opposing the merger of BSNL and MTNL".

On Monday, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology, chaired by Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor, directed the Department of Telecom (DoT) to consider carving out MTNL's debt and assets into a special purpose vehicle and then merge its operations with BSNL.

The panel also recommended that the loss-making BSNL should be allocated spectrum for rolling out 5G services at par with private telecom operators in the country.

According to a submission made by BSNL and MTNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar to the panel, BSNL is expected to turn profitable by 2025-26 while survival of MTNL is not possible because it has debt of over Rs 26,000 crore and revenue of Rs 1,300 crore.

"The committee recommends that the department should consider various options including carving out the debt and assets like in Air India and merging operations with BSNL as suggested by CMD, BSNL & MTNL and come out with some viable proposal regarding future of MTNL," the panel said in its report tabled in Parliament on Monday.

The panel also said that it was conscious of the fact that any decision on shutting down MTNL would have a negative impact on the public sector banks.

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