BSNL seeks ₹40,000 crore support from government

At present, BSNL has a debt burden of ₹30,000 crore which is one of the lowest in the telecom sector.

State-owned telecom firm BSNL has approached the government for ₹40,000 crore financial help, half of which it needs in the form of sovereign guarantee to clear short-term debt.

BSNL Chairman and Managing Director P. K. Purwar told PTI that the company does not need any additional debt and its business has become self-sustainable to support the operations.

“We do not need any additional debt. We have asked for ₹20,000 crore sovereign guarantee to pay back our short-term debt and issue long term bonds. We will need ₹20,000 crore if we have to set up 1 lakh node B (mobile sites) for mobile network rollout,” Mr. Purwar said.

The BSNL CMD confirmed that he has approached the government for the support, which is beyond the ₹69,000 crore relief package that was announced in 2019.

At present, BSNL has a debt burden of ₹30,000 crore which is one of the lowest in the telecom sector.

Mr. Purwar also heads MTNL, which is proposed to be merged with BSNL. The government has already issued a permit to BSNL to operate mobile business in Delhi and Mumbai which was earlier managed by MTNL.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet on Wednesday extended the additional charge of Mr. Purwar as chairman and managing director of loss-making telecom firm MTNL for a period of one year till October 2022.

The government had offered a combined revival package of about ₹69,000 crore to BSNL and MTNL in October 2019 that has helped both telecom PSUs in narrowing their losses.

According to official data, losses of BSNL have narrowed to ₹7,441 crore in 2020-21 from ₹15,500 crore in 2019-20. MTNL reported a total loss of ₹2,554 crore for the last fiscal compared to ₹3,811 crore in 2019-20.

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