June 02, 2024

BSNL Employees Union Raises Concern Over BSNL Asset Monetisation

THE BSNL Employees Union (BSNLEU) has addressed a letter to Neeraj Mittal, secretary of telecom, and PK Purwar, chairman and managing director of BSNL, on May 27, to draw their attention to the following concerns requiring prompt action.

The secretary of telecom, through letter No. 10-1/2022 – Asset Management, dated May 21, 2024, has highlighted the sale of BSNL’s assets situated in prime locations nationwide. This communication has been widely disseminated on social media platforms, causing apprehensions among BSNL employees. Given the severe financial crisis currently being faced by the BSNL, this communication is being viewed as one facilitating a distress sale.

In this context, the BSNLEU underscored two critical issues. Repeatedly, the BSNL management has stated that only surplus land and buildings would be monetised. However, the reality is something else. For instance, in Mumbai, employees and pensioners occupying staff quarters in at least two places have been forcibly evacuated to facilitate the sale of those lands and buildings. BSNLEU has already brought this issue to the notice of the CMD of BSNL, with the request to stop the same.

Similarly, in various cities and towns, employees working in offices situated in prime city and town

locations are being forcibly shifted to buildings on the outskirts, with the view to sell the prime location properties. This action of the management is inconsistent with the declared policy of monetising only surplus assets. The forcible eviction of employees and occupants of staff quarters for this purpose is unacceptable.

When the union cabinet decided on the monetisation of BSNL’s surplus lands and buildings, BSNLEU, along with other unions and associations, strongly demanded that the proceeds from such sales should come to BSNL and should not be taken over by the government. However, employees still remain apprehensive as to whether the proceeds will be used for BSNL’s network expansion or will be taken over by the government. No concrete written commitment has been given to the recognised unions and associations of BSNL in this regard. Employees are important stakeholders of the company. As such the recognised unions and associations which represent the employees are entitled for a formal written assurance on this matter.

In view of the above, BSNLEU urged upon the DoT and the BSNL management to ensure the

following actions:

(1) Ensure that employees and pensioners residing in staff quarters are not forcibly evacuated for the purpose of monetising these properties.

(2) Prevent the forcible shifting of employees from offices in prime locations to buildings in the outskirts, solely for the purpose of monetising the prime location properties.

(3) Provide a clear written commitment that the proceeds from the sale of BSNL’s lands and buildings will be utilised exclusively for the expansion of BSNL’s networks and will not be taken over by the government.

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