Protests are mounting against the anti-people decision of BSNL to close its one and half century telegram services from 15th July 2013, citing loss as the reason. Of course, telegram service as well telephone service in the rural areas are in loss, but it is a service to the ordinary people and on the plea of loss it can not be closed. BSNL is implementing the universal service access policy of the government and it can not cut the service to the ordinary people. If there is loss, it should demand and get sufficient money from the government. Most of the rural telephone service in loss. Does it mean that all those exchanges are to be closed.
And the loss factor itself is in scanner. The telegram services are part of the customer services and there is no special expenditure for the same. The available staff is attending to the telegrams also. More than 50,000 telegrams are dealt by the BSNL every month and more than 15 crores earned per year. The loss of Rs. 135 crore calculated by the BSNL is imaginary and include the salaries of employees, maintenance etc. which in any way will be there whether the telegram services are closed or not.
Many sections of the people are still using the services, though the number has come down due to the advanced technology gadgets like mobile, internet etc. The trams are still running in Kolkata. When a new product is released, all the old products are also on sale. Along with other communication services, telegram service also can continue. There is no separate expenditure for he same.
It is a heritage service and accommodated in heritage buildings in the big cities. CTO buildings in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata etc. are heritage buildings, which have to be maintained as such. Lakhs and lakhs of documents connected with the history of the Mughal, British rule etc. are there in the old documents of the telegraph offices. Just like Western Court building in Delhi is occupied by a hotel, there are proposals to turn these heritage buildings also in to such posh hotels. You can see that many of the historic palaces have already been converted in to hotels.
The BSNL employees are completely against the closure of the telegram services. They have already strongly protested against the decision. Their unions have not been even consulted before taking such a drastic decision.
Today, as per the call of the BSNL Employees Unions, protest dharnas are being held at the SSA/Circle levels as also in front of the BSNL Corporate Office in Delhi. A PLI case has been filed in the Chennai High Court against closure of telegram services and may be heard today. It can only be said that the BSNL management has taken an unwise anti-people decision as also without taking in to confidence of the unions, which are trying to improve the services and make the company financially viable.
The BSNL Management should revisit their decision and drop the decision to close the telegram services in the interest of the people and the company itself.
The BSNL Management should back out from this controversial and anti-people measure.