MTNL pays March salary, now seeks to resolve debt

NEW DELHI: State telco MTNL has settled all outstanding wages through March and is now trying to solve debt problems through asset monetization, a senior company official said Monday.

Meanwhile, BSNL has settled the salary of employees due until February and has not yet made the payment for the month of March, another official told PTI.

MTNL has seen a more than 60 percent reduction in the salary burden after the voluntary retirement of 14,378 employees who left it with the workforce of around 4,000 in Delhi and Mumbai.

We paid the salary until March and even all fees related to collecting the license have also been paid. Revenue collection in March was around Rs 190 million rupees, of which we paid Rs 30 million in wages, said MTNL President and CEO Sunil Kumar. .

He said the first tranche of ex-gratia pay to all VRS (voluntary retirement scheme) employees of around Rs 804 crore has been paid and the company expects to cut the remainder of 50 percent on schedule.

Now, we have a major debt problem. In addition to debt, the financial cost is very high, at around Rp 2 billion. We are now working to resolve it through asset monetization and business expansion, Kumar said.

According to official data, MTNL has a debt of around Rs 20 billion.

The company began leasing premises in Mumbai and Delhi.

We have a total space of around 10 lakh square feet in elegant locations in Delhi and Mumbai. We have just rented our facility at Janpath in Delhi for the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, which is bringing us a substantial amount as monthly rent. We have also started conversations with large corporations to rent premises, Kumar said.

When asked about the allocation of 4G spectrum, Kumar said that the priority at this time is employee safety and network management to support work from home.

Things will start to move once the Covid-19 threat is resolved, Kumar said.

The government arranged the allocation of Rs 37,640 million rupees for state telecommunications companies BSNL and MTNL rupees mainly for 4G spectrum and the implementation of the voluntary withdrawal scheme in the budget for fiscal year 2020-21.

The government will infuse Rs 14,115 crore in BSNL and Rs 6,295 crore in MTNL for 4G spectrum. In addition, Rs 2,541 crore and Rs 1,133 crore will be provided to BSNL and MTNL, respectively, as grants in aid of GST payment.