The government yesterday allocated various telecom network projects to state-run telco Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). The government has allocated Rs 25,000 crore for completing the assigned tasks. Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha informed this news to Parliament yesterday. These big projects include laying of optical fibre based network dedicated for use by Defence worth Rs 13,334 crore and Rs 6,500 crore for execution of the second phase of BharatNet Project.
“Optical Fibre Cable based Network for Defence Services (NFS Project) has been given to BSNL on nomination basis at the cost of Rs 13,334 crore. For the execution of the BharatNet project, the government has provided Rs 5,744 crore in Phase-I and has earmarked Rs 6,500 crore in Phase-II for BSNL,” Sinha said, as reported by PTI.
Besides the projects mentioned above, BSNL has been awarded to roll out mobile networks in uncovered villages in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam at an estimated cost of Rs 1,975.38 crore. The government-owned PSU will also be responsible for implementing the transmission-media plan for North Eastern Region at an estimated cost of Rs 295.97 crore. It will also lay the submarine optical fiber cable project at the cost of Rs 1,900 crore for providing connectivity to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI) and augmenting of satellite bandwidth in ANI and Lakshadweep Islands at an estimated cost of Rs 120.49 crore.
“Work of setting up of 25000 Wi-Fi Hotspots at Rural Telephone Exchanges at the cost of Rs 940 crore has been given to BSNL on nomination basis,” Sinha added.
Furthermore, at the same meeting, Sinha was asked about the revival of state-run firms BSNL and MTNL as both the companies have been incurring losses since FY 2009-10. As per Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) guidelines, both CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises) has been declared as “Incipient Sick”, Sinha added.
“Consequent upon declaration of BSNL as “Incipient Sick”, action has been initiated by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for preparation of a revival/restructuring plan for BSNL as per DPE guidelines. Three Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) have been requested to submit their willingness for undertaking a study and preparation of a revival/restructuring plan for BSNL,” the telecom minister added.
He further confirmed that an “internal committee of DoT is examining the recommendations of the report prepared by the consultant to decide the path of financial, human resources and corporate restructuring for the revival of MTNL.”
Sinha also recommended the reduction in the retirement age from 60 years to 58 years for employees, voluntary retirement scheme, debt restructuring and synergy in operations of MTNL and BSNL.