Monday, October 2, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Paswan launches BSNL
Workers warn of “unviable tasks”

NEW DELHI, Oct 1 (UNI) — Communications Minister Ram Bilas Paswan today launched Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL), the corporatised and recently merged entity of the Department of Telecom Operations (DTO) and the Department of Telecom Services (DTS).

With assets totalling Rs 63,000 crore and over four lakh employees, BSNL is now the largest public sector unit (PSU) in India. The government will continue to have 100 per cent equity in the new corporation.

Among those in charge will be Mr D.P.S. Seth as Chairman and Managing-Director, Mr S.P. Purwar as Director for Finance, Mr Prithipal Singh as Director for Operations, Mr B.R. Khurana as Director for Commercial and Marketing, Mr Shabbir Ahmed as Director for Planning and New Services and Mr Kranti Kumar as Director for Human Resource Development.

By transferring assets worth Rs 63,000 crore (book value), the government has created the largest Indian telecom outfit of the size of a Fortune 500. The new company will be empowered to venture any areas of communication, including basic, cellular and internet.

Launching the corporation here at a simple function, Mr Paswan said with the DTS showing a profit of over Rs 7,500 crore last year, the new corporation would be given total functional autonomy and “navratna powers for making investment decision.”

Describing the incorporation of BSNL, which would have about four lakh employees, as a historic step Mr Paswan said this would play a crucial role in meeting the target of providing telephone on demand by 2002 and providing 17 crore new connections by 2010.

Mr Paswan said BSNL would be provided a level playing field vis-a-vis private operators, it would operate on a commercial basis and consumers would be the ultimate beneficiaries.

Starting with an equity of Rs 5,000 crore, BSNL would have a loan liability of Rs 5,000 crore and would take all responsibility for providing rural communication entrusted to the erstwhile DTS.

Mr Paswan said the most significant competition for BSNL will come in about 15 months when private firms commission networks to carry domestic long-distance phone traffic. The segment was opened to private competition in August and revenues from it make up a significant portion of DTS revenues.

“We will make sure that there is no demoralising among employees,’’ Mr Paswan said. 

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