New Delhi: BSNL is a white elephant. Financial resources are scarce. For some of its field offices even paying rentals or power bills are beyond their means. But employees, it seems, keep their spirit up. They are pooling in money from their own pockets to keep the company going, a la crowd-funding.
A case in point came to light on October 5 when the authority concerned at a telecom district in Vijaywada issued an earnest appeal to its employees to personally contribute to a corpus — Rs 5,000 or above for executive rank personnel and Rs 2,000 or above for non-executives.
A senior official of the telecom district at Vijayawada issued an earnest appeal to all his employees on October 5 (a copy of letter is available with Financial Chronicle) which said that the financial status of BSNL is day-by-day deteriorating and more particularly the cash flow from the corporate office to field units is very much alarming.
“The secondary switching areas or SSAs are unable to clear the pending bills like electricity, rents, and vendor payments in time,” he said in the letter. Industry sources pointed out that network maintenance depends on field unit performance. “A stage has come for all field officers as they expressed their inability to maintain the network in tact due to paucity of funds, even from their own pockets,” a source said.
Neither BSNL chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava nor its spokesperson responded to several phone calls and messages by Financial Chronicle.
The source added that “the field units of Vijayawada district is not the only case but many other field units are facing the same situation in other parts of the country as well. The government needs to be intervene as soon as possible to tackle such financial problems.”
In order to ease the financial burden, the SSA management has reviewed the prevailing situations and explored all possibilities to get funds from corporate/circle office for clearing all pending temporary advances sanctioned for the maintenance of the network.
“The information received either from corporate office or from circle office that the cash flow crunch may continue for some more months as revenue generation in BSNL is declining day-by-day and unable to mobilise funds from outside,” said the senior official.
Considering the present scenario in BSNL, he added, the SSA management has discussed with all unions and associations and proposed to have corpus fund by taking interest free hand loans from all employees (non-executives /executives) till easing the cash flow from corporate office.
“During the discussions with all the unions/associations of executives and non-executives, it was decided to appeal to all employees with a request to give interest-free hand loans, i.e., minimum of Rs 2,000 or above from each non-executive and Rs 5,000 or above from each executive of Krishna SSA to contribute towards this proposed corpus fund to enable the SSA management for maintaining network intact by avoiding huge disconnection in all segments,” the official said in the appeal.
In August this year, the government had claimed that the telecom major’s income stood at Rs 32,411 crore in FY16, Rs 31,533 core in FY17 and Rs 27,818 crore in FY18 (provisional and unaudited).
The company also claimed it narrowed losses to Rs 4,785 crore during 2017-18, even as its income declined to Rs 27,818 crore as against the previous fiscal, it added....