AIGETOA, an associationcomprising engineers and account professionals at BSNL, has asked the government to engage independent auditors to assess the value of land assets of the state-run firm to be transferred to a special purpose vehicle for sale. In a letter to telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the All India Graduate Engineers and Telecom Officers Association (AIGETOA) has said that it is must for the government to alleviate apprehensions associated with the proposed land monetisation policy.
“We are aware that land monetisation of BSNL is on the cards and there is strong and underlying apprehension in the minds of employees of BSNL that the land asset base of BSNL will be surrendered at throw away prices,” AIGETOA said in a letter dated August 10. The government is mulling transferring land assets and loans of loss-making BSNL to a SPV which will sell the land parcels to pay off all the debt.
Employees union of BSNL, however, has alleged that land parcels proposed to be transferred to the SPV at a value of Rs 20,210 crore are in prime locations of big cities and are “grossly undervalued”. “To alleviate this apprehension from the general minds, it is requested to engage globally recognised and independent auditors to assess the land asset value so that the land transfer to the proposed SPV with an open mind and apprehensions associated with it can be put to rest,” the letter said.
In one of the case, the union alleged, BSNL has identified 10 acres of land in the Regional Telecom Training Centre in Thiruvananthapuram at a value of Rs 10 lakh percent (approximately 435.5 square feet), while the Kerala government six years ago paid Rs 15 lakh percent compensation for road widening. AIGETOA has also asked the minister to give full autonomy to BSNL board to ensure “smooth functioning” of the company.
“BSNL board has to look towards the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) in many ways. This restricts quick decision-making ability of BSNL that is vital for survival for any company working in this sector, which is highly competitive and rapidly changing. Hence, the BSNL board needs to be granted more autonomy for its effective functioning,” the letter said. The engineers and account professional body, AIGETOA has demanded that performance audit should be made mandatory for all projects worth more than Rs 100 crore.
The association has said along with fund for the proposed voluntary retirement scheme, infusion of funds is required to support operational and capital expenditure of the company to overcome current crisis. It has demanded to shut down loss-making exchanges of BSNL and shift focus of the company from copper-based landline business to fibre-to-home business.
AIGETOA has said that non-allocation of 4G spectrum would make it difficult for the company to sustain in future.―Devdiscourse