Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) Employees Union (EU) on Thursday said that the delay in the roll out of BSNL 4G services is hampering the operator’s revival plans. The BSNLEU in a letter to the secretary of Department of Telecommunications (DoT) highlighted several issues including the non-implementation of measures announced as part of BSNL revival package. Additionally, BSNLEU said that the BSNL management should address several key issues including the timely payment of salary to BSNL employees and the revision in the wages for non executives. BSNLEU also said that the management should create one single unit for managing Mumbai, Kolkata and Jabalpur telephone factories of BSNL.
BSNLEU Says Vested Interests Stalling 4G Roll Out
BSNLEU said in the letter that the tender floated by the operator to procure 4G equipment “has been stalled as a result of the conspiracy hatched by vested interests.”
Following the escalated confrontation at Ladakh's Galwan valley between the Chinese and the Indian troops, Indian government is said to have told DoT to rework the BSNL 4G tender. The reworked tender would restrict BSNL from sourcing telecom gear made by Chinese companies. Additionally, Niti Aayog, the Indian government’s policy think tank is said to have suggested BSNL to go for indigenously designed, developed and manufactured products for its 4G network. The suggestion from Niti Aayog would not only bar Chinese vendors from bidding in BSNL tender but also bar European players like Ericsson and Nokia.
BSNL in late March issued a tender that requires the vendors to deal with the planning, engineering, supply, installation, testing, commissioning and annual maintenance of 4G mobile network across India. BSNL said that the winners of the tender will deal with 50,000 sites of BSNL along with 7000 sites of MTNL located in Mumbai and Delhi circles. While the tender is currently active, BSNL has postponed the opening of the tender to July 15.
“Level playing ground is denied to BSNL, vis-à-vis the private operators, in the guise of making BSNL to implement the “Make in India Policy”. It is demanded that the government of India should immediately issue clearance to BSNL, to procure 4G equipments, as per the tender already floated,” BSNLEU said in its letter.
BSNLEU Demands Government to Implement Revival Package
BSNLEU also highlighted that no measures apart from the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) have been implemented by the government even after eight months since the announcement. The Indian government in October 2019 announced a revival package for BSNL which includes the roll out of 4G services and issue of sovereign guarantee to BSNL for raising funds from market.
“It is nearly 8 months, since the Revival Package of BSNL is announced by the Government of India,” BSNLEU said in its letter. “It is demanded that the government should take expeditious steps to implement the measures for the revival of BSNL, as assured in the Revival Package.”
The BSNLEU also requested BSNL management to take “immediate steps” on 15 other demands which includes timely payment of salaries and creation of one single unit for its telecom factory.
It is said that the BSNL employees have not been paid for the month of May while the wages of contract workers is said to have not been paid for the past one year.