Pitroda report holds up BSNL plan
Public sector telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) seems to have landed itself in a fix, with doubts over its expansion plan following its board accepting the Sam Pitroda panel report, writes Manoj Gairola.india Updated: Mar 08, 2010 21:16 IST
Public sector telecom major Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) seems to have landed itself in a fix, with doubts over its expansion plan following its board accepting the Sam Pitroda panel report.
The report, which was acceped on Friday, has recommended scrapping a tender to procure GSM equipment and install network for 93 million (9.3 crore) lines. The panel has recommended that the network be outsourced to vendors such as Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Network (NSN).
This is the system followed by private service providers such as Airtel and Vodafone.
The board move has landed the company in a quandary, as it now does not know how it would meet the requirement of GSM equipment for one year.
In an internal note circulated in the department of telecommunications (DoT) says that switching to the new system would take considerable time, and the company will face a capacity crunch during the intervening period.
Communications minister A Raja has asked DoT secretary PJ Thomas to discuss the issue with the prime minister’s office.
“As the finalisation of new procurement methodology may take considerable time, a road map for providing the immediate requirement of meeting the targets for 2010-11 has to be worked out,” the DoT note said.
“The purpose for which the reference has been to the committee headed by Pitroda is not fulfilled despite the fact that the management committee of BSNL accepts the concept of transition,” Raja has commented on the same note.
“Wider implication on retrenchment of staff and immediate requirement of BSNL — till the time system is adopted, have to be addressed at length in the BSNL board.”
B K Syngal, former CMD of Videsh Sanchar Nigam (VSNL) said, “Cancellation of tender is disastrous for BSNL and will bring down its value.” “It is handing over a customer base on a platter to the competition.”
“A committees can not decide the fate of a multi-billion dollar company when that company is not allowed to be run on the well established rules of governance by the government.”