BSNL to form separate mobile tower business

BSNL to form separate mobile tower business

BSNL to form separate mobile tower business

In a bid to restructure loss-making Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) monetise its infrastructure,  Cabinet on Wednesday gave “in-principle” approval for hiving off state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s tower assets into a separate company.

BSNL owns about 65,000 mobile towers and has the largest mobile tower infrastructure in the country.

Consequent to the approval, the Department of Telecom can constitute an inter-ministerial group for working out the capital and organisational structure of the new company after market valuation of its tower assets, which will be considered by the Cabinet, sources said. From 2010 fiscal onwards, BSNL began sharing its towers with other operators, but it is yet to realise full potential of its market share.

The Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved financial support of Rs 627.20 crore to BSNL and MTNL on surrender of 800 MHz spectrum in a few circles.

The Cabinet also approved release of wages directly to the accounts of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MNREGA) workers.

The scheme is expected to streamline fund flow and bring about transparency in the MNREGA fund flow thereby eliminating corruption from India’s largest employment generation scheme.

To reduce delay in transportation, the Cabinet also allowed the central and state PSUs to make their own arrangements of bulk cargo without involving Ministry of Shipping into it.

“With a view to empowering various government departments/PSUs with adequate flexibility to directly make their own shipping arrangements in respect of ocean transportation of cargos, the Cabinet has given its approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Shipping for decentralising existing chartering arrangements,” sources said.