On 1st October 2011, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) completes 11 years of eventful life. It was on 1st October 2000 that this PSU was formed changing the government Departments DOT/DTS/DTO in to a corporation. The three Federations NFTE, FNTO and BTEF had gone on a strike earlier against corporatisation, but succumbed to the government pressure and on some assurances accepted the change. The National Action Council, consisting of the E(III), T.III, Admn. Union etc strongly opposed the proposal and went on strike during the period, but could not stop the corporatisation since the three federations agreed for the same. At this juncture it is still a question mark whether we could have stopped corporatisation if all the unions together have strongly opposed. I feel we could have stopped it. Any how it is only an opinion.
The government departments were corporatised in to BSNL as the first towards privatisation. Telecom was fast growing and there is real money in it. The private companies and MNCs wanted to grab it. The government knew that privatising a government department will not be accepted by the people. Hence it has got to be first corporatised, then disinvested and then only privatisatisation could be done.
During the last 11 years, the government proposed to disinvest BSNL at least twice. It was the strong opposition from the Joint Forum / Joint Action Committee consisting of all unions/associations in BSNL that stopped it till now. BSNL is in the list of PSUs to be disinvested in the next financial year. There is no other way but to fight it out.
But more than that, the government succeeded in bleeding its own company through dubious means. This company which had a cash reserve of about Rs. 40,000 crore and posting a profit of about Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 10,000 crore in a year has now been reduced to a loss of Rs. 1823 crore in 2009-10 and Rs.6384 (appx) in 201-11. Its committment to pay ADC to BSNL is withdrawn. Licence Fee reimbursement is stopped. In the name of equal field, the government has withdrawn from its commitments. Not only that. It took away all the surplus of the company in the name of spectrum charges,notional loan and so on. It was discriminated against the private companies, which are very dear to the government which is continuing with its neo-liberal policy aggressively.
JAC has been continuously trying to improve the services and expansion of the company. But the anti-PSU policy of the government, Inefficiency of the management or rather mismanagement, a certain casual attitude of the workers – all have resulted in negative growth of the company.
The JAC initiated the Customer Delight Year in May 2011 to ensure a better service to the people and expansion of services. During the last four months the negative direction has turned in to positive. But this is not sufficient. Massive growth should be there for which procurement of equipments are very much necessary.
In the name financial crunch management is trying to curtail the benefits of the workers. Bonus is denied. BSNL Board has decided for implementing VRS in its meeting today. The JAC has decided to fight against these attacks on workers.
The next year for BSNL is a period of difficulties. Workers have to be united to safe guard the their interest as well as those of the company. We have to ensure a better service to the people. Let us march ahead with commitment and determination!
Happy Birth Day BSNL! Wish many happy returns of the Day!