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Govt allocates BharatNet, defence-related projects worth Rs 250 bn to BSNL

Work of setting up of 25,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots at Rural Telephone Exchanges at the cost of Rs 9.4 bn has been given to BSNL on nomination basis," Manoj Sinha said


Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 


The government has entrusted state-run with various telecom network projects around Rs 250 billion in works, Parliament was informed on Friday.

The big projects include laying of optical fibre based network dedicated for use by Defence worth Rs 133 billion and Rs 65 billion for execution of second phase of BharatNet Project, as per details shared by Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha in Rajya Sabha on Friday.

"Optical Fibre Cable based Network for Defence Services (NFS Project) has been given to on nomination basis at the cost of Rs 133 billion. For execution of BharatNet project, the government has provided Rs 57 billion in Phase-I and has earmarked Rs 65 billion in Phase-II for BSNL," Sinha said.

The state-run firm has been awarded rolling out mobile networks in uncovered villages in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam at an estimated project cost of Rs 19 billion, implementation of transmission-media plan for North Eastern Region at an estimated cost of Rs 2.95 billion, laying of submarine optical fiber cable project at the cost of Rs 19 billion for providing connectivity to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI) and augmenting of satellite bandwidth in ANI and Lakshadweep Islands at an estimated cost of Rs 1.2 billion.

"Work of setting up of 25,000 Wi-Fi Hotspots at Rural Telephone Exchanges at the cost of Rs 9.4 billion has been given to on nomination basis," Sinha said.

He was replying to question over revival of state-run telecom firm BSNL and MTNL.

Both public sector telecom firms have been incurring losses continuously since Financial Year 2009-10 and as per Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) guidelines, both CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises) have been declared as Incipient Sick, Sinha said.

"Consequent upon declaration of BSNL as Incipient Sick, action has been initiated by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) for preparation of a revival/restructuring plan for BSNL as per DPE guidelines. Three Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) have been requested to submit their willingness for undertaking a study and preparation of a revival/restructuring plan for BSNL," the minister said.

An internal committee of DoT is examining the recommendations of the report prepared by the consultant to decide the path of financial, human resources and corporate restructuring for revival of MTNL.

The MTNL consultant has recommended reduction in retirement age from 60 to 58 years for employees, voluntary retirement scheme , debt restructuring and synergy in operations of MTNL and BSNL.

Besides this, the recommendation for MTNL should focus on customers and defend current revenue besides generating additional revenue through network capex investment, asset monetisation ease, Sale of real estate, buildings, lease or sale of mobile tower, fiber, copper and active equipments, Sinha said.

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First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 19:05 IST