An employees’ union of state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has sought an immediate short-term bank loan of Rs. 6,000 crore for operating and capital expenditure and “speedy revival”.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA) has also sought 4G spectrum allotment, permission for land monetisation, payment of pension contribution and implementation of the Third Pay Revision Committee.
According to SNEA, the money is required for operations till the telecom behemoth raises funds by monetising land. BSNL’s proposal for land monetisation, submitted in July 2018, is yet to be approved by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
BSNL expects to get at least Rs. 1,000 crore immediately and Rs. 3,000-4,000 crore in the near future from land monetisation/leasing. According to the union, even after Cabinet approval, it would take at least six months to get money through monetisation.
“How can BSNL provide quality services and survive till that time? If further delay occurs on the part of DoT and the government in facilitating BSNL for getting bank loan or soft loan, it will be too late as the services will deteriorate further resulting in sharp decline in revenue,” the letter signed by SNEA General Secretary Sebastin K said.
“If the decision is delayed by another two to three months, it will be too late as BSNL network may deteriorate beyond repair and will make revival impossible,” the letter said.
As of date, BSNL’s Opex and Capex liabilities stand at more than Rs. 6,000 crore. The company’s services have started to deteriorate due to non-payment of outsourced vendor services, electricity payments, rentals and vehicle charges among others, the letter added.
Land worth Rs. 3-lakh crore
BSNL has land assets at prime locations with a market value of more than Rs. 3-lakh crore, optical fibre network of more than 7.5-lakh route km and more than 66,000 towers.
In the telecom sector, BSNL has the least liability or loans of less than Rs. 20,000 crore, it said, comparing with Vodafone Idea’s liabilities of Rs. 1.18-lakh crore, Bharti Airtel’s Rs. 1.08-lakh crore and Reliance Jio Infocomm’s Rs. 1.12-lakh crore.―The Hindu Business Line