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Now, BSNL Seeks Rs 39,000 Crore DoT Dues For Turnaround

On the brink of a collapse, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) was expecting the Union Cabinet approved 2019 revival package – which included a Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), monetisation of assets and 4G rollout – to nurse it back to health. While the State-owned telecom behemoth implemented the VRS scheme in 2020, letting go of nearly 79,000 employees, the other plans in the package are yet to materialise. Forget being profitable, BSNL is now finding it difficult even to pay salaries on time. According to sources, the company is now seeking arrears of about Rs 39,000 crore from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to tide over the financial mess, rather than waiting for the implementation of the revival plan. This, according to the various unions and associations of the public sector unit, is under various heads such as salaries and pension contribution of officers deputed to BSNL by DoT, financial support to be provided for rural telephony services and cost of surrendered CDMA spectrum among others. Last week, the representatives of BSNL’s various unions and associations met Communications Minister Devusinh Chauhan and apprised him about the dues, and the delay in crediting of salaries and 4G rollout among others. The minister had assured to look into the issue, a source said, adding, “fingers crossed”.