Telecom infrastructure firms ask BSNL to immediately clear Rs 1,500 cr dues for continued services

By: |
April 10, 2020 5:22 PM

The non-payment, the firms said, so far has already resulted in mobile service outage at various places in the country.

A query sent to BSNL in this regard did not elicit any immediate response.A query sent to BSNL in this regard did not elicit any immediate response.

Telecom infrastructure companies have asked state-run firm BSNL to clear dues totalling Rs 1,500 crore on urgent basis, saying they are unable to meet critical expenses necessary for maintaining the telco’s network.

The non-payment, the firms said, so far has already resulted in mobile service outage at various places in the country.

The group of eight infrastructure firm under the aegis of industry body Tower & infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) has written to BSNL Chairman and Managing Director P K Purwar on Thursday, seeking clearance of dues as they are facing problem in paying for electricity, diesel, batteries procurement, etc for maintaining the telecom PSU’s network which led to service outage in several areas.

“The situation has become highly critical now with total outstanding dues from BSNL amounting to approximately Rs 1,500 crore which has been pending for long. We are looking forward to an urgent intervention and support from the CMD, BSNL in the matter,” TAIPA Director General T R Dua said in a statement.

He said that the telecom infrastructure companies are already facing financial woes and working hard to manage networks during the ongoing lockdown period.

A query sent to BSNL in this regard did not elicit any immediate response.

TAIPA has sought urgent intervention on behalf of Indus Towers Ltd, ATC Telecom Infrastructure Pvt Ltd, Bharti Infratel Ltd, Tower Vision Ltd, Sterlite Technologies Ltd, Space Telelink Ltd, Applied Solar Technologies and Coslight India Limited.

Out of the total, BSNL owes Rs 606.4 crore to mobile tower firm ATC, Rs 488 crore to broadband technology firm Sterlite Technologies, Rs 127 crore to Indus Towers, Rs 118.2 crore to Tower Vision and Rs 100 crore to Bharti Infratel.

“There is an urgent need for intervention and support regarding clearance of outstanding dues of our (Infrastructure Providers category) IP – 1 members due to which our members are facing huge cash crunch,” Dua said.

TAIPA said that telecom infrastructure companies are facing problems in making payment of rentals to the landlords where BSNL sites are installed, payment of electricity bills of BSNL towers, procurement of diesel and batteries and other backup storage devices for telecom towers sites of BSNL.

It said that there are challenges in keeping the uptime as per service level agreements “for BSNL tower sites which is leading to BSNL network outage and blackouts in nearby areas of the sites.”

Telecom operators body COAI has also urged the telecom department on Wednesday to direct PSUs, including BSNL and MTNL, to clear Rs 20,000 crore of cumulative outstanding dues of communications and network equipment manufacturers, infrastructure providers and other vendors.

The Cellular Operators’ Association of India (COAI), in a letter to the telecom secretary Anshu Prakash had flagged the distress felt by its member companies over outstanding dues from PSUs and said that non-payment of dues is “adding to critical financial woes to our members companies who are facing serious constraints in terms of cash flows due to slowing economic activities in the current situation”.

“Also, this huge scale of delays and breach of contract commitments by public sector units is highly detrimental to global business sentiment towards India,” the COAI had said.

Despite the relief package the losses of BSNL swelled by over 2.5 times to Rs 39,089 crore during the April-December 2019 period.

The public sector telecom firm had recorded a loss of Rs 14,904 crore in the previous financial year 2018-19.

Around 78,000 BSNL employees have opted for the voluntary retirement scheme supported by the government in the relief package which has reduced salary burden on the company significantly.

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