Congress slams govt over BSNL, MTNL losses

Surjewala, in his plea, has suggested that the Centre immediately set up reception and facilitation centres at district and village level for receiving labourers and facilitating further travel to their native districts or villages.

The Congress on Monday (June 24) hit out at the Centre over state-owned telecom firms MTNL and BSNL reeling under losses, alleging that the Modi dispensation was helping private telecom companies at the cost of public sector undertakings.

Both state-run telecom firms BSNL and MTNL have been reporting losses since the time they were asked to pay auction determined spectrum price in 2010 for all the circles where they operate. “Problem is not with #BSNL & #MTNL. Problem is malice of BJP government to help pvt telcos at the cost of PSUs,” Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala tweeted. He alleged that the BJP government did not allot BSNL and MTNL 4G and all private telecom firms are pumping in finance but BSNL is barred from taking loans. There has been zero capital investment by government and no investment in towers, he alleged.

“Each countrymen must also think: 1. In Congress government in 2013-14 MTNL posted a Net Profit of ₹7,838 crore. In BJP government in 2019, MTNL is reeling under a Net Loss of ₹3,390 crore 2. If BJP government can help pvt entities like ILFS, IDBI & GSPC by investing public funds, why not BSNL/MTNL?” Surjewala said.

MTNL operates in Delhi and Mumbai and BSNL in rest of the 20 telecom circles. While MTNL has been continuously posting loss and has showed no signs of revival, BSNL posted operating profits of ₹672 crore in 2014-15, ₹3,885 crore in 2015-16 and ₹1,684 crore in 2016-17.

Citing lower debt and a continuous increase in market share, an association comprising engineers and account professionals at BSNL has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention for the revival of the state-run firm and also said that non-performing employees should be held accountable.

The All India Graduate Engineers and Telecom Officers Association (AIGETOA) in a letter dated June 18 urged the prime minister to provide a budgetary support to BSNL to help address liquidity crunch that is adversely impacting operation and maintenance of services at the organisation.