BSNL employees unions to go indefinite strike from March 17, may impact its users

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The eight Unions of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) have decided to go nationwide indefinite stir from March 17 to protest against by the Narendra Modi government to consider the public sector unit as sick industry. The decision may impact its services among its subscribers in India if it happens.

The BSNL employees would be submitting a letter to Prime Minister on February 25 signed by one crore people while urging him not to grant the sick PSU status to BSNL. The unions have alleged the lack of financial support by the government to BSNL.

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"BSNL is suffering losses as it is providing connectivity to rural areas. The cost of setting a landline connection in these areas works out to Rs 15,000 per connection but we are able to collect only Rs 180 or Rs 190 per month as user charges," said M Kanniappan, BSNL employees union president.

Kanniappan alleged that it is the private sector which is using the infrastructure of BSNl and now they have even stopped paying access deficit charges.

On the other hand, the much-awaited merger of telecom public sector undertakings (PSUs), Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL), is likely to take place in July as the two companies look at synergising operations by offering services as a single entity.

At present, BSNL offers services in the entire country except Delhi and Mumbai. MTNL provides telecom services in these two zones.

The total debt of the two firms increased to Rs.21,208 crore at the end of June 2014. The public sector firms are also losing market share.

Plus, the market share of BSNL has been reduced to 12.3% at the end of May 2014 from 13.27% at the end of March 2012, while that of MTNL stood at 4.83% at the end of May 2014.

Lastly, MTNL recorded a net loss of Rs.5,321.12 crore in an annual revenue of Rs.3,428.6 crore in 2012-13. BSNL's losses, according to unaudited results stood at Rs.8,198 crores for 2012-13.

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