The Prime Minister’s information technology advisor Sam Pitroda said the government was not planning to merge BSNL and MTNL, but efforts were on to sell stake in BSNL.
“There is no move to merge BSNL and MTNL,” he told reporters here today. He, however, added the government was considering selling a part of its stake in BSNL and would move “quickly” in that direction. A high-level review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this week had agreed to consider a suggestion for immediate sale of 10 per cent government equity in BSNL. Pitroda, who is also co-ordinating the release of spectrum by the defence forces for the upcoming 3G auction, is learnt to have called for an immediate disinvestment of 10 per cent of the government’s equity in BSNL, a proposal expected to be considered at the top level of the government soon.
The review assumes importance in the wake of deteriorating revenues of the telecom PSUs, particularly BSNL, which also faces a controversy over a Rs 35,000-crore expansion plan.
Pitroda said there was no plan to come out with a follow-on public offer of MTNL. The government had earlier contemplated a merger of BSNL with MTNL to help synergise operations of both the state-owned telcos.
DoT and boards of both companies had discussed the issue many times, but never came to a conclusion due to various issues .