NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has finally cleared Rs 1,500 crore to two state-controlled firms— Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL).
“Last week, the telecom department (DoT) has released funds to state-owned service provider BSNL as well as BBNL for the BharatNet initiative that the two have undertaken together with vendor-partners,” a senior official told the PageOne.
Both BSNL and BBNL would be getting Rs 750 crore each to clear dues to their vendors and contractors.
Earlier in November, a representation of financially-stressed vendors led by Delhi-based Telecom Exports Promotion Council (TEPC) and Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA) met telecom secretary Anshu Prakash to press their demands.
The companies were seeking release of their outstanding dues towards BharatNet-II program estimated to be close to Rs 1,800 crores, and haver already written to Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The firms predominantly include optic fibre makers and suppliers such as Aksh OptiFibre, Paramount Wires and Cables Limited (PWCL), Sterlite Technologies Limited (STL), Birla Cables and Finolex Cables as well as Pune-based Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) provider Tejas Networks.
“We thank DoT and BSNL for working hard to resolve vexed payment issue of BharatNet – II supplies and services,” TEPC co-chairman Sandeep Agarwal said.
Agarwal, however, added that a much needed step would further boost vendors’ moral and trust, and help further release staff salaries.
The ailing home-grown companies were not able to timely disburse salaries to their workforce following blocked payment from the government to state-run telecom companies.