State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has paid February salary to its employees on Tuesday, mainly from internal accruals including revenues generated during the month. The company had paid January wages on March 7, while this month’s salary is likely to be delayed for several reasons including the lock-down.

“With the total employee headcount now reducing by half to about 70,000, BSNL needs just about ₹330-350 crore to meet salary requirements. A number of clients with annual billing cycles have paid their dues in March, which resulted in the company recording the highest revenues from operations in March,” a source close to the development told BusinessLine .

The telco, which generally pays salaries on the last working day of a month, had paid December salaries on February 15. The internal collection in January was at about ₹1,300 crore, while that in February was expected to cross ₹1,800 crore and March, about ₹2,000 crore.

Before rolling out the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), BSNL’s per-month salary outgo (including EPF payouts) was about ₹1,300 crore. ALSO READ: At final call, around 92,700 BSNL, MTNL staffers opt for VRS

Separately, BSNL has also allotted funds varying between ₹50 lakh and ₹75 lakh per circle for maintenance and running of operations without “any hindrance”. The operator also had redundancy systems in place to reroute traffic in case of disruptions, such as severing of optical fibre cables.

“As of now, the company did not record any hindrance in operations from any of its telecom licensing areas in the country,” the source added.

On February 26, BusinessLine had reported that the operator would pay January salary by the first week of March, before Holi, which was on March 9. CLICK TO READ THE STORY: BSNL to pay January salary by first week of March

In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, BSNL has started offering free broadband for its users across the country for a month from March 20 to enable them to work from home. Other operators were also gearing up to support an expected surge in data traffic as home broadband users are upgrading to higher bandwidth. READ THE STORY: To support work from home, broadband users are upgrading to higher speeds