“The suit-boot-loot Modi government bails out select crony companies but has left the largest public sector telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) and its sister company Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) in dire straits,” Congress spokesman Randeep Singh Surjewala said here.
“ILFS, which now has a debt of one lakh crore rupees due to the economic mismanagement and financial bungling of the Modi government, is being saved through state-owned Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and public sector banks. Similarly, the public money of ONGC (Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) was used to buy out a Rs 20,000-crore scam-ridden collapsing GSPC for Rs 7,700 crore,” he said.
He added that hard earned savings of 38 crore LIC policyholders worth Rs 9,000 crore was used to save IDBI Bank, while India’s leading public sector banks including State Bank of India and others were used by PM Modi to “bail out” a bankrupt private company Jet Airways.
“Now BSNL and MTNL are facing the financial wrath of pro-rich, anti-people Modi government. BSNL employs 174,312 people and MTNL employees about 45,000 people. The board of BSNL has reportedly approved the proposal to lay off over 54,451 employees.
“The board has accepted three suggestions that will destroy the future of 54,000 families — reduction in retirement age from the existing 60 years to 58 years, Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and blocking allocation of 4G spectrum to BSNL,” Surjewala said.
“For the first time we witnessed that a large number of BSNL and MTNL employees were not given salaries for months. According to information in public domain, both BSNL and MTNL were unable to pay salaries to their employees for the month of February. Modi government’s policy to help private telecom giants has resulted in financial chaos in BSNL and MTNL,” he added.
Surjewala said that while private telecom players are pumping money into their operations through “unfettered” bank loans, the BSNL has been “barred by the government” from taking any loans.
“In addition, the government has not yet provided 4G spectrum to BSNL. On April 6, the licence of MTNL shall be cancelled if it doesn’t pay a whopping Rs 11,000 crore to renew its license via TRAI. MTNL has 7.7 lakh broadband users whose services might get jeopardized.
“Will PM Modi save and bail out state-owned BSNL and MTNL or will he only do it for cronies?” he said.