BSNL customers in endless wait for refund of deposits

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) is so short on cash that it’s struggling to return its landline customers’ security deposits. 

Rajesh, 62, (not his real name) said he surrendered his landline connection in January but was yet to get back the security deposit of Rs 3,000. “Multiple visits to the BSNL regional office have been of no help. I am told many people surrendered the landline connections before me but haven’t got the security deposit back,” he told DH

According to Rajesh, officials at the regional office had promised to expedite the process, “subject to availability of funds”. But it’s the same regional offices that seem to be delaying the process. 

In an online complaint, a user said he was still waiting for the refund of the security deposit a year after having surrendered two BSNL telephone connections registered in his father’s name. In sharp contrast, the user said, the BSNL staff were “very diligent” about ensuring he had paid all the dues when he surrendered the connections. 

Some complaints date back to 2016. Another user said she surrendered her landline connection in 2016 and received a text message that the security deposit would be credited to her account. She continues to wait. 

The refund process at the BSNL takes up to 60 days. “Everyone is aware of the situation at the BSNL. Employees are being laid off. Many customers are on the waitlist for the refund for the security deposit,” a source in the BSNL said. While the government supports private telecom companies, its treatment of the BSNL is nothing but “step-motherly”, the source added. 

A BSNL official said additional funds had been sought for refunding the security
deposits.

“As and when the funds come, we clear the backlogs. The process is underway,” Thulasi Prasad, deputy general manager, BSNL, said but maintained that he didn’t know the number of refund applications. 

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