Telecommunications equipment providers write to BSNL seeking authorization for over Rs 20 billion

NEW DELHI: and state-owned BSNL providers have requested approval of their outstanding payments worth more than Rs 20 billion, saying that the loss of business due to the closure of the coronavirus and closed factories is hampering their ability to pay wages and manage operations.

Sandeep Aggarwal, managing director of Paramount Cables, who is also president of the telecommunications equipment manufacturers association (TEMA), wrote a letter to communications and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, seeking urgent help for companies.

A large portion of the companies in our business are small and medium-sized companies and their survival will be difficult if their past installments are not approved and settled, Aggarwal told TOI.

Giving details of past fees that BSNL and the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) must erase, he said these are bills paid for the purchase of critical equipment, and also investments made for the ambitious government digital connectivity initiative, Bharat Net.

“Around Rs 6,000 crore is spent on the purchase of capital goods, such as cables, radio used in mobile towers, fiber optic cables, switches and mobile switches. Another Rs 1 billion rupees is for fees to be paid for the money spent on the Bharat Net project. And most of Rs 13 billion rupees is money spent by us to provide equipment such as tower rentals, electricity bills, payments from various contractors and maintenance contracts.

Aggarwal said the quotas have been pending since January last year. “It is a very difficult situation and the fate of hundreds and thousands of workers depends on the liberation of our quotas. We urge the government to have a comprehensive view of our demands and to release the money as soon as possible.

Furthermore, Aggarwal said that the survival of sellers is crucial, as they are part of the ecosystem that would underlie the government's ambitious Make in India electronics project.

Separately, a group of eight infrastructure companies under the auspices of the Tower and Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA) have also written to BSNL President PK Purwar seeking the settlement of their quotas worth Rs 1.5 billion. , since they face problems to pay for electricity, diesel, purchase of batteries, etc. to maintain the PSU's telecommunications network.

The situation has become extremely critical now with outstanding BSNL fees that have been pending for a long time. We look forward to urgent intervention and support from CMD, BSNL on the matter, said TAIPA CEO T R Dua.

He said that telecommunications infrastructure companies are already facing financial problems and are working hard to manage the networks during the current lockdown period.