CHQ writes to Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Hon’ble MoC & IT on breach of assurance in the payment of ex-gratia to BSNL VRS Retirees and Revival of BSNL.

AIBDPA/MIN-VRS & BSNL/2020 July 1, 2020


Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad,

Hon’ble Minister of Communication& IT and Law,

Sanchar Bhawan, 20, Asoka Road,

New Delhi -110 001.

Respected Sir,

Sub: – Breach of assurance in the payment of ex-gratia to BSNL VRS Retirees and Revival of BSNL- reg.

We are constrained to bring to your kind notice the following issues of utmost importance for your kind consideration and favourable action.

VRS was declared for BSNL employees as part of the Revival Package of BSNL in October, 2019. There was an unprecedented response from the BSNL employees to the VRS, mainly due to the comparatively attractive ex-gratia. Accordingly, as many as 78,569 employees availed the VRS. It was assured by the government that the ex-gratia will be paid in two equal instalments, 1st in March and 2nd in June, 2020.
Many of the employees availed the VRS in the hope that they could utilise the ex-gratia amount for the marriage of their daughter, to purchase a house etc. But all these hopes stand shattered due to the breach of assurance in the payment of ex-gratia. Contrary to the assurance, the first instalment paid in March,2020 was only 31.3% instead of 50%. This Association, through a letter dated 08-06-2020 had brought this issue to the notice of Secretary, DoT and demanded the balance of 68.7% ex-gratia should be paid in June,2020. But to our dismay, only 22.5% is paid in June,2020, putting uncertainty in the payment of the balance 46.2% ex-gratia. This has naturally caused widespread disappointment and mental agony to the VRS retirees. Therefore, we request your kind intervention to cause necessary action for immediate payment of 46.2% ex-gratia to the BSNL VRS retirees.
Sir, we are equally concerned about the future of BSNL. Many people appreciated your personal efforts in bringing out a comprehensive Revival Package for BSNL and believed in early revival of BSNL. The main components of the Revival Package were; (1) Immediate grant of 4G spectrum to BSNL (2) Sovereign Bond of Rs.15,000 crore (3) Monetisation of BSNL assets and (4) VRS to the employees.
But the fact remains that the government and the top officers of DoT and BSNL were enthusiastic in implementing only the VRS to their full satisfaction. And the Revival of BSNL is put into the cold storage. The late initiative of BSNL for the 4G service has been stalled by the PMO on flimsy grounds, presumably at the behest of Reliance Jio. The intention of the government is exposed with awarding the work of installation of 51 towers in Ladakh to Reliance Jio, neglecting BSNL. The other components of the Revival Package also remain as nonstarter. The apprehension of a section of the people that the Revival Package is only a ploy to retrench the employees in the name of VRS is proved to be correct.
When the Revival Package was declared, BSNL was supported by oxygen cylinder and now, after 8 months, BSNL is on ventilator. Salary of employees are in arrears for two months, contract workers are not being paid their wages for the last two years, unable to provide the most attractive FTTH to the customers due to paucity of funds to procure necessary accessories etc.
Most importantly, BSNL Retirees are not being paid their medical bills, medical allowance since 2018. One time payment made to CGHS is also not being reimbursed. The abnormal delay in payment of medical bills and allowance is causing much difficulty and disarray to the Pensioners. This burning issue was brought to the notice of CMD, BSNL several times and also Hon’ble Prime Minister and your good self. We once again request you to do something to mitigate the sufferings of the poor Pensioners considering the Covid-19 pandemic situation.
We also make a fervent request to your good self to kindly do the needful for the Revival of BSNL in the best interest of the people and the country and to keep up the credibility and sincerity of the government.
Awaiting an early positive response and

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

K G Jayaraj

General Secretary

Copy to: (1) Shri Anshu Prakash, Secretary, (Telecom), Department of Telecom., Sanchar Bhawan, New Delhi- 110 001

(2) Shri P.K. Purwar, CMD BSNL, Bharat Sanchar Bhawan, Janpath, New Delhi -110 001