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In leaked audio, Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s warning to BSNL staff

Either perform or “perish” – was Telecom Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s terse message during his first meeting with the employees of public sector telecom operator BSNL. In a leaked audio from the meeting, he was heard warning the 62,000-strong workforce of the ailing company that anyone not performing will be made to take voluntary retirement.

He called the meeting with the senior management of the company on Thursday, days after announcing a ₹ 1.64 lakh crore package for the revival of BSNL.

“I will be measuring the performance every month. Those who don’t want to work can take voluntary retirement and go home. Or you will be made to take voluntary retirement, like what happened in railways,” he was heard saying in the over five-minute long clip.

To make BSNL financially viable, the Union Cabinet approved the revival package amounting to ₹ 1.64 lakh crore on July 27.

“We have done what we were supposed to do and now you need to perform…This is going to be the new normal from now on. Perform or perish. Only your performance can save you in this competitive industry. I want to see the results in the next 24 months. I will see monthly report on your performance,” Mr Vishnaw said.

Revival measures approved by the cabinet focus on infusing fresh capital for upgrading BSNL services, allocating spectrum, de-stressing its balance sheet, and augmenting its fibre network.

“The way the revival package has been made, no other government in the world could have taken such a huge risk as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken. This was not a small allocation,” the minister added.

The cabinet also approved a proposal to merge Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) with BSNL.

Through this merger, BSNL will get an additional 5.67 lakh kilometres of optical fibre which has been laid across 1.85 lakh village panchayats in the country.

Currently, BSNL has an optical fibre cable network of over 6.83 lakh kilometres. NDTV

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