BSNL to close down operations along border

SHILLONG, April 30 – Stating that it “makes no business sense to operate along the Indo-Bangla border areas,” the BSNL today informed that it would operate as a professional corporate unit and close down its services from commercially non-viable areas.

Hit by severe fund crunch, the public sector telephone company said, it has incurred huge losses over the years “running to lakhs of rupees” by operating along the Indo-Bangla border areas.

Chief General Manager, North East Circle I, DP Singh said that all telephone companies are directed by the Central Government to set up their services in such remote areas or pay penalty. However, most private telephone companies have stayed away from these non lucrative business areas and paid penalty instead.

“It makes no business sense to operate in these areas, we would rather pay penalty than continue our services in these (Indo-Bangla border areas) areas,” Singh, whose telephone Circle oversees the operations in Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, said.

He said that the BSNL NE Circle-I would be writing to its headquarters immediately to withdraw from these non- lucrative areas. “We are making huge losses from these areas. If you are asking me to operate as a corporate unit, we should also get an opportunity to decide where to operate and where not, so that our business sustains,” he justified.

Singh, however, left it upon the Central Government to decide on the tricky issue. “We (NE-I Circle) would still operate in these remote areas provided we are given subsidy and the Centre make good our losses,” he asserted.

The chief of the Circle further informed that NE-I Circle has been the second highest revenue earner in the country last year. During 2012-13, it has increased its revenue collection to Rs 213.96 crore, which is an increase of Rs 4.90 crore over the year 2011-12.

Despite the gains, Singh said BSNL NE Circle I, like all BSNL Circles in the country, is a loss making unit and the losses incurred last year was about Rs 58 crore. “We have not assessed the losses of this fiscal, but we definitely would have reduced the margin with improved earnings,” he added.