NEW DELHI: The festival of Holi remains colourless for about 1.92 lakh employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) who are yet to receive salaries for the month of February and with no roadmap in place for March salary.“There have been delays in salary for last three months. We have not got any salary for February. The officials have told us that they can pay only when the government would release the funds,” a BSNL employee confirmed.
The situation is similar for MTNL employees. However, top management has confirmed that the government will release funds ahead of Holi. “We have released Rs 171 crore on Tuesday for MTNL and issued orders to pay salaries and arrears to its employees,” said a senior official in the Department of Telecom (DoT). MTNL CEO Pravin Kumar Purwar said it would begin disbursing salaries from March 14.
On a long-term basis, MTNL is planning to offer voluntary retirement to 8,700 employees. “There was a meeting between Manoj Sinha (telecom minister) and the finance minister. The finance minister has assured salary will be released immediately,” said a senior official, adding that BSNL has a monthly wage bill of Rs 750 crore and a debt of Rs 13,000 crore. “The DoT is working on the salary issue.
We will release some funds towards it. Meanwhile, there is also a consideration of a Rs 13,000 crore bailout package for BSNL,” a senior DoT official added. The proposal, yet to be approved by the Digital Communications Commission, includes a Rs 6,365 crore voluntary retirement package and 4G spectrum allotment through Rs 6,767 crore equity infusion and monetisation of real estate assets.
Some BSNL brass also blame Reliance Jio for BSNL’s woes. “Even if predatory pricing by Reliance Jio was not enough, the BSNL management signed a single sided agreement with Jio. So, after this agreement Jio can use BSNL towers but BSNL can’t use Jio’s towers. And then you expect the business to grow. No one seems to mind it,” a senior BSNL official.
Salary woes abound for employees
- BSNL, MTNL employees not paid salary for month of February. March salary uncertain
- Telecom and Finance ministers met DoT secretary and BSNL and MTNL’s top brass on Wednesday, assured release of funds
- Rs 170 crore released to MTNL on Tuesday, funds to be released for BSNL soon
- BSNL has monthly wage
- bill of Rs 750 crore, debt of Rs 13,000 crore