Some vendors of BSNL and MTNL are mulling to move insolvency pleas against the state-run firms for non-payment of dues, estimated to be around Rs 20,000 crore, a senior industry body executive said on Monday.
“The total pending payment of BSNL and MTNL vendors is around Rs 20,000 crore. Banks have started putting pressure on vendors to clear their dues. All vendors will jointly stage a protest on November 19. If payments are not made within 10 days thereafter, they will approach NCLT for liquidation of BSNL and MTNL,” Aggarwal claimed.
Email queries sent to BSNL and MTNL over the pending dues of vendors remained unanswered till the filing of the story. The Telecom Export Promotion Council on October 31, 2019, wrote to the administrator of Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) to pay long-pending dues of around Rs 2,000 crore to various vendors. USOF manages the BharatNet project.
These vendors include Sterlite Technologies (Rs 500 crore due), Tejas Networks (Rs 314 crore), HFCL (Rs 219 crore), Paramount Wires and Cables (Rs 168 crore), VNL (Rs 150 crore) etc, according to the letter. In a letter to telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Paramount said its bankers are pressuring the company to clear their dues at the earliest.
“Our plant has remained mostly shut, since we do not have funds to buy raw materials. Creditors are refusing to supply even at high prices. Our staff and worker salaries have not been paid for the last two months. This has never happened in our history,” Paramount said.
Last month, the Cabinet approved a Rs 69,000-crore revival plan for BSNL and MTNL but dues of many vendors are still unpaid. Aggarwal said that around 1 lakh direct employment are affected due to non-payment of dues by government-run firms.
“With Rs 20,000 crore payment due, around 1 crore man-hours salary has not been paid,” he said.
Employee unions of BSNL, MTNL meet Prasad, back govt’s relief plan
It may be recalled that the government last month had approved a plum Rs 69,000 crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetising their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years.
The minister had on Friday directed BSNL and MTNL to implement VRS guidelines quickly, and initiate proactive measures to monetise assets in a time-bound manner, while making it clear that they must become more aggressive in telecom market. The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had, on October 23, approved a plan to combine MTNL with BSNL.