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BSNL Crisis Continues: Over 1.68 Lakh Employees Yet to Receive Salary

This is the first time in BSNL’s 18 years that the company has not been able to pay salary to about 1.68 lakh employees.

Image Courtesy: ET Telecom

As the crisis in the public sector telecom entity Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) continues, the employees and officers in majority of the circles have not been paid their salary for the month of February. The corporate management says that they do not have the cash flow for the payment of the salaries. According to the employees, this is the first time in BSNL’s 18 years that the company has not been able to pay salary to about 1.68 lakh employees.

“We were supposed to get the salaries on February 28 and we have not got it yet. More than that, as BSNL faces cash deficit, it is not able make all the bill payments,” said Swapan Chakraborty of BSNL Employees’ Union, while talking to Newsclick.

Like all the telecom service providers except for Reliance Jio, the revenue earnings of BSNL have drastically dipped, due to the brutal tariff war initiated by Reliance Jio. As BSNL is facing financial crunch due to the certain market condition, the company is not able to pay salary to its employees.

Read More: How the Centre is Dismantling BSNL

According to the industry analysts, the tariff war may continue for some more time. So, BSNL being a public sector company needs the support of the central government to overcome the crisis. The BJP-led Modi government, however, is not ready to extend their helping hands to the ailing BSNL.

“The Department of Telecommunication (DoT) is not allowing BSNL to take bank loans to meet its operational expenditures. DoT only allows BSNL to take bank loans for capital expenditure. The stringent condition imposed by DoT restricts the operations of BSNL,” Chakraborty added.

 It is important to note that the total debt of BSNL is Rs 13,900 crores. Whereas the debt of Vodafone idea is Rs 1.2 lakh crore and debt of Airtel is 1.13 lakh crore. The debt of Jio is about Rs 2 lakh crore. Why only BSNL was denied the permission to take loans, questioned Chakraborty.

When asked about the contractual workers, Chakraborty said that if this is the condition of the regular employees, we can assume what condition would be theirs. The contractual workers across majority of the circles have not been paid their wages for last three months. In certain circles of Uttar Pradesh, salaries of more than six months are pending.

While, All Union and Associations in BSNL (AUAB) was planning for a relay hunger strike from March 12 and later, they have called off the protest call saying that it would affect the services.

“We have been raising our issues and protesting against these. Now, we will plan our further steps.”

Read More: BSNL Employees on 3-day Nationwide Strike, Demand Revival of Public Sector Telecom Entity

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