The telephone service in India was first started by private companies. The earlier decision to start the service by British Government itself was changed and private companies were allotted the service.

It was the Oriental Telephone Company of England / Bengal Telephone company which opened the telephone exchanges in the major cities of Calcutta, Bombay, Madras and Ahmedabad. In the capital city of Calcutta, the ‘Central Exchange’was opened on 28th January 1882. The exchange had a total of 93 connections. Afterwards, exchanges at Bombay etc. were opened.

All these exchanges were feminized with only women telephone operators. These companies were taken over by the government during the early 1940s. The process was fully completed by 1947. The telephone exchanges in the areas ruled by the kings were also taken over by the government.

Since that period till the middle of 1990s,it was only P and T Department / Telecom Department which run the telephone services in India. The BJP government is trying to turn the clock backwards by planning to sell the BSNL and MTNL to strategic partners. This has to be fought with all our strength and defeated.

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