New Delhi: Cash-strapped Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is facing a challenge in crediting staff salaries for this month on August 30, a senior official admitted on Friday.
The official, who did not wish to be named, said that while the telecom company is generating monthly revenue of about Rs 1,400 crore, there are certain liabilities, including interest payments, which have to be taken into account.
The official did not specify a timeline for payment of August salaries while stating that BSNL is facing a challenge in payment of this month's salaries on August 30.
BSNL Chairman and Managing Director, PK Purwar, did not respond to a request for comments on the issue.
Meanwhile, All India Unions and Associations of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (AUAB) Convenor P Abhimanyu told PTI: "Government owes BSNL huge amount of money. They have also collected excess amount of around Rs 400 crore per year from BSNL since 2007 in the name of pension contribution".
AUAB is planning to start agitation across the country to press for its demands.
"This time we will start agitation across the country against the government. If the Department of Telecom clears dues of BSNL - both vendor payments and salary can be given on time," he said.
Distressed telecom PSUs Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) and BSNL have been incurring losses and have been facing problems in clearing staff salaries in the recent past.
The two PSUs had delayed payment of salaries for February until mid-March due to a financial crisis. BSNL had then said that it used its internal accruals to clear the pending wages.
BSNL's salaries for July too were delayed by nearly a week, spilling into beginning of August. On August 5, BSNL confirmed it has released wages of employees for the month of July, after dipping into its internal accruals.
The Department of Telecom (DoT) for some time now has been preparing a rescue plan for the two companies in the form of a revival package that entails components like voluntary retirement scheme, asset monetisation and allocation of 4G spectrum.
The DoT is also said to be considering a proposal for merger of the two PSUs as part of efforts to revive the ailing state-owned telecom firms.
BSNL's loss is estimated to be around Rs 14,000 crore with a decline in revenue to Rs 19,308 crore during 2018-19.
The public sector firm's provisional loss was Rs 4,859 crore in 2015-16, Rs 4,793 crore in 2016-17, Rs 7,993 crore in 2017-18 and is estimated to swell to Rs 14,202 crore in 2018-19, according to information presented in Parliament.
The number of employees in BSNL stands at 1,65,179 and the total employees' cost is a staggering 75 per cent of the total income of the company. Private players, on the other hand, have very low employee cost ratio; the proportion of employee expenses hovers between 3-5.5 per cent for some of the major operators.