State-owned telecom carrier Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has sought immediate financial assistance to help it restore telecom services in the flood-hit areas across the country. The move gains importance as with more than one crore landline connections, the PSU provides connectivity to the remotest telecom circles.

BSNL requires a ‘special fund’ to purchase diesel, and to meet housekeeping and labour expenses across flood-impacted areas, according to a letter written by Sanchar Nigam Executives Association (SNEA) to BSNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar.

However, the required amount to maintain the essential services was not specified. The flood has damaged optical fibre cables (OFC) and disrupted electricity connections, making Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) and exchanges fully dependant on diesel generators. Serious service disruptions were reported from Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala circles, and situation in these circles had worsened due to shortage of funds, the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by BusinessLine , said.

“The government machinery and the public are looking to BSNL for restoration of telecom services. The rescue operations are fully dependant on BSNL services,” said the letter, signed by SNEA General Secretary Sebastin K.

The letter was also copied to Department of Telecommunications Secretary Anshu Prakash and BSNL Director (Finance) S. K. Gupta.

Karnataka worst hit

BSNL’s services in Karnataka were worst hit, with both that State and Central governments criticising the PSU for not restoring the services.

It’s difficult to find labour as their earlier payments are pending for months, it said.

The government is currently working on a proposal to revive the two State-owned telecom firms – BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL).