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Hit By Financial Crunch, BSNL Closes 1000 Towers

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has shut down as many as 1,000 towers across various circles in the country. While some of the towers are its own, it has also exited some shared ones, mainly due to non-payment of dues.

Towers have been shut down across Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh (East), Maharashtra and Kerala, among other circles, starting with the first week of this month, sources close to the development told BusinessLine.

The closures were made following non-payment of electricity bills, IT service charges and other telecom infrastructure firms’ dues.

Some towers were shut down to “rationalise” the total number of towers, one of the sources said.

There were media reports of Tamil Nadu’s Revenue Department sealing a BSNL tower in Kotagiri on Thursday after the company failed to pay rental dues of about 1.5 crore.

The telecom services provider has about 1.1 lakh towers across the country. The closures are not expected to have any major impact on its operations as may of the towers were “redundant”. Further, coverage from the closed down towers were moved to other towers.

According to industry watchers, there will be an impact on the call quality in certain areas.

Salary payment

BSNL, which is reeling under a financial crunch, expects to pay June salaries on time, as it has generated enough cash from operations. Per company policy, the salaries will be credited on the last working day of the month, said another source.

The company, which had missed paying February salaries, employs about 1.63 lakh personnel as on March 31, 2019, including 46,597 executives and 1.17 lakh non-executives.

In February, BSNL employees across the country went on a three-day strike demanding allocation of 4G spectrum and government approval for a loan.―The Hindu Business Line

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