People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 48

December 02, 2007

BSNL Employees Warn Against Disinvestment Move


V A N Namboodiri, convener, Joint Forum of BSNL Unions / Associations of Executives & Non-Executives has issued the following statement on November 25, 2007


THE proposal mooted by BSNL management to disinvest 20 per cent stake, if true as reported by some newspapers, is unwarranted and will be strongly opposed by the entire workers of BSNL.


Earlier, there was a proposal for disinvestment of 10 per cent stake, on which the 3,20,000 BSNL workers went for a strike on January 5, 2006, which was deferred after the government gave an assurance that there is no proposal to disinvest/privatise BSNL.


Disinvestment of BSNL will be the first step towards its privatisation, the process we have seen in the case of Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL). It was handed over to M/s Tata for a mere Rs 1320 crore, when the VSNL had a liquid cash of more than Rs 12,000 crore.


BSNL is financially strong and has been graded excellent for its performance for two years and very good for one year during the last three years. It has paid Rs 12,500 crores to the government this year towards dividend, licence fee, taxes etc. BSNL's market share has gone down during the last few months due to non-availability of mobile lines to provide because of court cases etc, but this is going to be solved when the 22 million GSM lines will be available within one or two months.


BSNL Employees Union and the Joint Forum of BSNL Unions/Associations of Executives and Non-Executives strongly oppose the proposed move to disinvest BSNL and demand the management and government of India to drop the proposal, failing which they will be compelled to launch sustained struggles including general strike.