BSNL employees seek closure of about 13k exchanges

BSNL employees seek closure of about 13k exchanges

BSNL Principal General Manager office. (DH Photo)

The employees of state-run telecom services provider Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) want the company to shut around 13,000 exchanges in the country, mostly located in the rural areas.

“Our Central Working Committee is of the considered opinion that BSNL management should take immediate steps to close down all such loss-making exchanges, reduce the financial burden and divert the man power and money to other areas so that better services can be provided from the remaining areas,” Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA) said in a letter to BSNL Chairman PK Purwar.

The body has contested that the move will save more than Rs 3,000 crore for the crisis-hit company.

Sources in the BSNL suggest that association has sought closure of around 40% of BSNL’s exchanges – most of which located in the rural areas. “Our expenses are outweighing our sales there. It is like a social service we are doing, and the government isn’t compensating us for that,” an office bearer from the employee association of BSNL said.

Currently, BSNL has 31,611 exchanges, of which an estimated 60% are located in the rural areas.

The committee, however, wants the crisis-hit firm to adjust the employees in other exchanges.

The company’s management, on the other hand, are trying every possible way to trim its headcount as having a huge pay-roll has been taking a heavy toll on the company’s bottomline.

The company is planning to raise the bonds guaranteed against its fixed assets in a bid to finance its voluntary retirement scheme. Through the scheme, the telco seeks to see its employee count trimmed by atleast 20,000 people.