Protest by ANI Circle BSNL workers affects telecom services

Report by: 
ROOPA LALL
Port Blair
28 Jul 2017

Telecom services remained largely affected in various parts of these islands on Thursday when employees of the Andaman and Nicobar Circle joined the nation-wide strike called by state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited demanding revision of pay and pension as recommended by the 3rd Pay Revision Committee.

“BSNL came under loss due to the government’s anti-BSNL policies. The employees got last revised pay ten years ago. The union government had approved recommendation of third pay revision committee on July 19 this year; but BSNL was not included in the Public Sector Undertakings’ list. We demand pay revision for the BSNL employees from January 1, 2017,” said Mr Raja, President of BSNL Employees Union here speaking to this Correspondent.

In a statement released to the national media earlier, BSNL Employee Union Convener, Mr P Abhimanyu said, “BSNL was not allowed to procure equipments for its mobile network expansion from 2006 to 2012. Even in the midst of cutthroat competition from Reliance Jio, BSNL is adding 20 lakh new mobile customers every month. BSNL is sure to become a profitmaking PSU within next 2-3 years,” adding that the unions and associations will be compelled to resort to more serious forms of struggles, if the government does not respond favourably to the demands.

BSNL Management started procurement of equipment  from 2013 onwards and thereafter, significant improvement has been made to the BSNLs quality of services. As a result of all these efforts, a significant change has come in the financial position of the company. BSNL had incurred Rs 691 crore operational losses in the year 2013-14, whereas it earned an operational profit of Rs 672 crore in 2014-15 and Rs 3,854 crore in the year 2015-16.

Tenders floated by BSNL to procure mobile equipment were cancelled one after another by the government to benefit the private telecom companies. As a result of this blockade created by the government in the procurement of equipment, BSNL was not able to take advantage of the exponential growth witnessed in the mobile segment, during this period, the press statement from Mr Abhimanyu said.