Govt entities default on Rs 2-cr phone bill payment to BSNL

But state-run telecom operator says it won't cut off their connections

Several government agencies and departments in Karnataka have not paid Rs two crore worth of landline and mobile phone bills to the state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) in the past four months.

Landline bills run into Rs 46 lakh for 1,200 connections. Of these, Rs 33 lakh worth of dues are pending from 900 connections in Bengaluru circle alone. Bills for landline connections in offices and official residences of some ministers are also unpaid, highly placed sources in the BSNL told Deccan Herald on Friday.

In case of mobile phones, unpaid bills amount to Rs 1.32 crore, out of which 80 per cent are from government entities in Bengaluru alone.

Among the defaulters are the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike, the Bangalore Development Authority, Education, Revenue and Finance departments as well as the police (including police stations). The list includes deputy commissioners and magistrates too, the sources said.

The BSNL, however, has not disconnected the service of any of these landline or mobile numbers. The connections come under the government exemption category under which the BSNL will not disconnect the number. They are given a grace period, a BSNL official said.

Usually if a citizen does not make payment within three weeks from the date of the bill, they get 35 days of grace period. Thereafter, their outgoing calls are barred but incoming calls continue for 15 days. For judges and magistrates, the grace period is 55 days, for both mobile and landline connections.

According to the source, government departments and officials delaying payments to the BSNL is common. Rarely are the payments made on time. Most of the time, the BSNL just warns them, the source added.

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