BSNL’s unpaid dues: Nokia seeks PM Narendra Modi’s intervention to recover Rs 970 crore

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Published: May 29, 2020 1:30 AM

The dues amounting to Rs 970 crore have been pending for more than 15 months even when the government has provided a revival package to the state-run firm in October last year.

Nokia India CEO Sanjay Malik said that BSNL gave a new commitment in January this year that all the dues would be cleared by September 2020 but the state-owned firm has been defaulting on making payments since April.Nokia India CEO Sanjay Malik said that BSNL gave a new commitment in January this year that all the dues would be cleared by September 2020 but the state-owned firm has been defaulting on making payments since April.

Finnish telecom giant Nokia has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to recover dues amounting to Rs 970 crore from BSNL, pending for more than 15 months even when the government has provided a revival package to the state-run firm in October last year.

In a letter to PM Modi, Nokia India CEO Sanjay Malik said that BSNL gave a new commitment in January this year that all the dues would be cleared by September 2020 but the state-owned firm has been defaulting on making payments since April.

“We appreciate huge efforts extended by government… in the form of revival package for BSNL, however on ground we are unable to see any significant improvement at BSNL for release of long pending payments even after 6-7 months of the package announcement,” Malik said in the letter, a copy of which has been seen by Financial Express.

Nokia has rolled out mobile broadband services for BSNL in South and West zones. The state-run firm has not disbursed payments to Nokia for the services even after 15 months of the completion of deployment. Nokia said despite the non-payment of dues, the company has been supporting BSNL to offer seamless service. “Unfortunately, even with all these efforts, there are no signs of respite either from DoT or BSNL, this is resulting in significant financial losses that we continue to suffer on account of prolonged delays,” Malik said.

In fact, Nokia has written around 22 letters to department of telecommunications (DoT), Niti Aayog, Prime Minister’s Office and BSNL in the last 18-20 months seeking help in recovering the dues, which at one point of time stood at about Rs 2,000 crore. Nokia said such delays slow down businesses and negatively affect global industry sentiment and inclination to invest further in India. “Moreover, the payments stoppage directly impacts our ability to service over 300 million India citizens who are on networks supported by Nokia,” the company said.

Nokia is a leading manufacturer of telecom equipment in India. The company, which employs over 15,000 people in India, makes equipment worth Rs 3,000 crore annually here, of which Rs 1,500 crore worth of products including 5G radio equipment is exported to regions such as Europe, the US every year.

It must be mentioned that apart from Nokia, BSNL owes several thousand crores dues to other vendors also. As per industry body COAI, BSNL owes over Rs 20,000 crore to vendors, which is adding critical financial woes for the companies.

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