Many comrades have brought a media report to the notice of the CHQ. The report says that, the “Parliamentary Committee on Petitions” has recommended the merger of BSNL and MTNL, and that the report of the Committee is tabled in the Lok Sabha. As a matter of fact, this Parliamentary Committee on Petitions finalised this report in March 2017 itself. The recommendations of the Committee was already reported in the Economic Times dated 16-03-2017. Immediately, we have written to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, demanding the following steps to be taken urgently, before the government takes any final decision on the merger of BSNL and MTNL. We will not allow the merger of BSNL and MTNL to become a death trap for BSNL.
WE DEMAND THE FOLLOWING AS A PRECONDITION FOR THE MERGER OF BSNL AND MTNL.
(1) MTNL should be delisted from the share market.
BSNL is not a listed company, with the government controlling 100% of it’s stake. At the same time, MTNL is listed in the share market, and 46.5% of it’s shares are already sold in the market. The BSNL employees are having a genuine apprehension in their minds that, the merger of BSNL and MTNL is being contemplated by the government, as a prelude to start disinvestment / strategic sale in BSNL. Under these circumstances, BSNL employees are strongly opposed to any merger of MTNL with BSNL. Hence, we demand that the government should delist MTNL first from the share market, before merger.
(2) Government should take over the financial liability of MTNL.
MTNL is having a huge financial liability. It’s asset value is very less, compared to it’s financial liability. BSNL’s financial position is too fragile to absorb the huge financial liability that MTNL is having. Hence, it is demanded that the government should take over the entire financial liability of MTNL, before merger.
(3) Government should provide financial assistance to BSNL to revamp the networks in MTNL areas.
MTNL has not made any investment in the recent years, to strengthen it’s networks. As a result, MTNL’s networks, both mobile and landline, are in shambles. If MTNL is merged with BSNL, the latter has to invest a huge amount, to revamp the networks. In the present situation, BSNL is not having the wherewithal to make such huge investment. As it was rightly pointed out by the then Hon’ble Minister of Communications, shri Ravi Shankar Prasad ji, BSNL was not allowed to procure equipments for it’s network expansions, during the UPA regime. Only for the past three years, BSNL has started making network expansions, and is heading towards profitability. Under these circumstances, BSNL cannot afford to make big investments to revamp the networks in MTNL areas. If sufficient revamping of MTNL’s networks is not done expeditiously, the merger will further weaken BSNL’s financial condition. Hence, it is demanded that the government should provide sufficient financial assistance to BSNL to revamp MTNL’s networks on a war foot measure.
(4) Salary structure of the employees of BSNL and MTNL should be one on the same.
At present, the salary structures of employees of BSNL and MTNL are different. The pay scales of the MTNL employees are one step above. If both the companies are to be merged, then the salary structure of the employees of BSNL and MTNL should be made one and the same.