BSNL employees plead with PM to drop MTNL merger; say the merger will ruin BSNL’s financial condition

BSNL employees union suggested the government take over MTNL's debt amounting to Rs 26,000 crores.

Highlights
  • The central government plans to merge Mahanagar Telecom Nigam Limited and Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited.
  • The BSNL employees union opposes the merger, saying it would do “irreparable damage” to the telco’s revival plan.
  • MTNL has a debt of around Rs Rs 26,000 crore.

The Indian government is planning to merge BSNL (Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited), MTNL (Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited), and BBNL (Bharat Broadband Network) to create one state-run telecom entity. However, the BSNL employees group isn’t happy with the merger and said that the proposed merger between BSNL and MTNL would do “irreparable damage” to the Cabinet-approved revival plan for BSNL. The employee union has pleaded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “drop proposal to merge Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) with BSNL”.

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The BSNL employee union said, “We wish to express our serious concern regarding the merger of BSNL and MTNL. The BSNL employees are genuinely concerned that, the merger of MTNL with BSNL will certainly ruin the financial condition of the latter. Due to this reason, right from the beginning, the employees of BSNL have been firmly opposing the merger of BSNL and MTNL,” in a letter to the Prime Minister.

The BSNL employee union further suggested that the government take over MTNL’s Rs 26,000 crore debt and provide financial assistance to BSNL for restoration of the MTNL network. Last year, BSNL took up MTNL’s network in Delhi and Mumbai. 

“Under these circumstances, it is disturbing to hear that the government is moving fast to merge MTNL with BSNL. Already BSNL is struggling hard to come out of its financial crisis. In this situation, if MTNL is merged with BSNL, it will only do irreparable damage to the financial revival of BSNL,” said P Abhimanyu, General Secretary, BSNLEU.

The government approved a Rs 70,000-crore rescue plan for the two state-run telecom operators. The plan includes a virtual retirement scheme (VRS), monetisation of assets, allocation of 4G bands, and merger of two telcos. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Communications and Information Technology recently suggested the telecom operator merge MTNL’s operation with BSNL and debt and turn MTNL’s assets worth over Rs 26,500 crore into a special purpose vehicle.