BSNL union hits at DoT for not allowing Chinese equipment

The public sector unit was forced to keep Chinese vendors out following a ban imposed by the government, due to security reasons. However, DoT has now allowed private players to buy from Chinese vendors subject to meeting certain guidelines.

Questioning the rationale behind the move, Sanchar Nigam Employees Association said, "This is absolutely ridiculous for the simple reason that the move is just intended to jeopardise the growth of BSNL.

"How are the security interests of the country protected while allowing private operators to install Chinese GSM equipment and restraining BSNL from doing so?" the Association quipped.

DoT had asked all operators to get security clearance from the government before importing equipment due to security reasons. Accordingly, on May 14, the DoT wrote a letter saying that BSNL should not buy from China. The letter coincided with the PSU planning to buy equipment for supporting 5 million subscribers.

Due to the restrictions imposed, it had invited bids only from the European and American vendors. Later, the government issued guidelines and allowed private telcos to import equipment from Chinese vendors only after meeting certain criteria with regard to the national security.

In case of BSNL the restrictions still hold and there is no clarity whether the state-run telco would be allowed to import Chineses equipment or not, the Association claimed.

In a letter to the Cabinet Secretary, the association said that the intentions of the administrative ministry are manifested in its orders from time to time imposing severe restrictions, to restrain BSNL from taking pragmatic business and commercial decisions independently, and thereby crippling its growth.

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