BSNL has no money to pay its 1.76 lakh employees
13 March 2019
State-owned telecom service provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has failed to pay salaries to its 1.76 lakh employees in February after it reported stagnating revenues and mounting losses that has hit Rs8,000 crore.
Reports say this is likely to be the case this month as well and that there could be no immediate end to the salary woes of the staff of public sector telecom provider.
While this has been the first time when the company has failed to meet its salary obligations, BSNL sources said the cash flow pattern indicates that the company may have trouble meeting the March salary obligations on time as the state-owned company is sinking more and more into the red.
BSNL employees in some states have staged demonstrations demanding the early release of the salary. The Odisha unit of BSNL employees ended a three-day strike today.
The employees' union has written to minister of telecommunications Manoj Sinha demanding that the government release sufficient funds to the company to pay the salaries. The employees have also demanded that the government take steps to revive the company.
The staff unions allege that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has been delaying a proposal to raise a bank loan as proposed by the board of directors of BSNL, according to some reports.
BSNL's losses have been steadily rising over the past few years. The company reported a loss of Rs8,000 crore in FY18, compared to Rs4,786 crore in the previous financial year. The company's losses are showing no signs of coming down and the FY19 losses could top Rs8,000 crore, says a report.
DoT sources say the BSNL, which has a total debt burden of Rs13,900 crore, can take a loan only to meet capital expenditure and not for meeting operational costs.
Reports also say that a DoT panel has found about 35,000 employees of the BSNL as excess. Also, according to the panel, about 55 per cent of the BSNL revenues go for meeting the wage bill which keeps rising annually. However, the company's revenues have remained stagnant for many years now as it is the facing tough competition from private players.
The price war started by reliance jio has also adversely affected BSNL's revenues.
Meanwhile a Financial express report said BSNL has started paying the February salaries to staff at its corporate office in Kerala, Jammu and Kashmir and Odisha.