The All Unions and Associations of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (AUAB) opposed the Government’s plans to raise Rs 40,000 crore by monetising BSNL’s towers and optical fibre and a proposal to restructure manpower.
“The present Government’s plans for raising Rs 40,000 crore by monetisation of BSNL’s infrastructure, towers and optical fibre, was severely opposed in the meeting. The management’s proposal for restructuring BSNL manpower also came under severe criticism,” a source close to the development said.
The umbrella body of all BSNL’s unions demanded upgrading of the State-owned telecom operator’s base transceiver stations or BTSs to enable it to launch 4G services “immediately”.
BSNL had its network 4G-ready with an investment of Rs 6,000 crore in 2018 and got spectrum in October 2019, even though it is yet to roll out the services.
The unions estimate that the company will take another two-three years to fully roll out 4G services; by then, other operators would be offering 5G services.
Earlier, the public sector unit has also sought permission to upgrade all its 2G and BTSs supplied by ZTE to support 4G services. Of its total 49,300 BTSs, 36,000 were installed by ZTE and the remaining 13,300 with Nokia.
AUAB also demanded a payment of salary on the last working day of every month, improving fibre-to-the-home service, proper maintenance of transmission network, landline and broadband services, among others.
The BSNL management’s policy of continuing to rely on Indian Telecom Service officers to run the company was also “severely” criticized in the meeting BSNL Chairman and Managing Director P K Purwar on July 2, 2021.
Representatives of 13 unions and associations of the BSNL took part in the meeting.
Earlier, a BSNL union - Sanchar Nigam Executives Association – had sought withdrawal of 128 additional Principal General Managers and General Managers (GMs) posted on deputation with the company, who were incurring Rs 90-100 crore per year as salary and other expenses.
This came at a time when BSNL had reduced its own employee strength by more than 50 per cent through a voluntary retirement scheme, and the company was not able to pay its own employees’ salaries on time.