Time overrun put MTNL, BSNL projects in limbo

Written by Vrishti Beniwal | New Delhi, Aug 30 | Updated: Aug 31 2007, 04:49am hrs
As many as five major projects of state-run firms MTNL and BSNL are lagging behind the schedule, resulting in huge cost escalation for the telecom operators. The estimated cost of these projects put together is Rs 1,453 crore and the time overrun is 8 to 21 months. According to the department of telecommunications, some minor acceptance testing points are pending in some of the communication projects.

In case of BSNL, phase III of National Internet Backbone (NIB) has been delayed by 21 months. The Rs 250-crore project, which involves implementation of message, storage billing, security etc, was expected to get over by March 2006. But the late supply of hardware by vendor, time taken for customisation of applications and migration of services caused the delay.

Another project involving supply, installation, testing and commissioning of 30.2 lakh lines WLL exchange equipment is running eight months behind the schedule. The project was supposed to get over by July 2007 at an estimated cost of Rs 476 crore. It, however, got delayed due to late supply of equipment by ITI and UTL, and also because of the delay in customer clearance and WPC licence.

MTNL had convergent billing and CRM projects for Delhi and Mumbai. The date of commissioning for both the projects, costing up to Rs 250 crore each, was February 28, 2007. Both the projects got delayed by about 10 months, and are anticipated to be completed by the end of December 2007. The telecom operators another project of 7.5 lakh GSM lines in Mumbai is also progressing at a very slow pace. The date of commissioning for the Rs 231.38 crore project is October, 2007.