More than 50,000 telegrams are booked, sent and delivered each month and lakhs of rupees received through the services, the forum of BSNL unions and associations has claimed.

In a statement issued after the 163-year-old telegram service was stopped from July 15, the forum claimed that BSNL’s expenditure of Rs 100 crore a year on the service was a “myth” and the decision to close it was “in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act.”

V.A.N. Namboodiri, convenor of the forum, said in a statement that BSNL staff was carrying out telegram services in the Customer Service Centres.

“Out of many counters for Internet, mobile etc one more counter is there for telegrams. No extra staff is employed…. There is not a single paise spent for the staff of telegram service alone. There is no extra maintenance charge, since it is part of the telecom services. All the telegram service centres are in departmental buildings and no rent is to be paid. In fact, more than Rs 1 crore is received by the management without any major expenditure”, he said.

On the argument that there were better communication services such as SMS, mobile services and Internet available to the people the forum said certain sections were still using the service before it was shut down.

The forum flayed the Government for not consulting or even discussing the move with these unions/associations, adding that “the telegram services are provided as per the Indian Telegraph Act 1885. Any change like closure cannot be done without any amendment to the Act by Parliament. The closure decision is completely in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act.”

(This article was published on July 15, 2013)
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