BSNL’s VRS success may create an operational issue

Rajesh Kurup Mumbai | Updated on December 11, 2019

About 13,305 executives opt for the scheme, exceeding target by 40 per cent

In an irony of sorts, State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL) successful Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) is likely to create a shortage of hands, with as many as 13,305 executives opting for the scheme.

Nearly 4,000 executives have opted for the separation scheme, exceeding the target by 40 per cent, even though the maximum number of applications came from the non-executive cadre.

ALSO READ: At final call, around 92,700 BSNL, MTNL staffers opt for VRS

The Public Sector Unit (PSU) would be staring at an operational issue in case it accepts all applications from the executive cadre, according to the Sanchar Nigam Executives’ Association (SNEA), an employees’ union at BSNL.

“These executives have been in the forefront of maintaining the network for the last so many months, even paying from their own pockets. Among them, a large number of officers have many years of service left. It will be an uphill task to maintain the network and provide quality services in the post VRS scenario,” SNEA said in a letter to the BSNL Chairman and Managing Director, P. K. Purwar.

A large number of personnel from the middle-level management including assistant general managers, chief accounts officers, executive engineers and deputy general managers have opted for the VRS. These personnel, spread across circles and divisions, will create a vacuum.

Further, the PSU will find it difficult to maintain and operate telephone networks, optical fibre cables and external plants (telephone lines and network outside the exchanges). The management had decided to outsource these to private contractors, which will take at least 3-6 months to materialise, and maintaining the network even after that would be a challenge.

“BSNL’s top management and the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) may be happy about the success of the VRS, but the realities on the field are entirely different,” the letter signed by SNEA General Secretary, Sebastin K, said.

“This will have an adverse impact on BSNL’s revival plans,” it added.


SNEA has also appealed to the BSNL management to persuade “willing and meritorious officers” to withdraw their VRS applications as they can play an important role in the PSU’s revival.

ALSO READ: BSNL staff under 55 years also opt for VRS

“Their experience and commitment will become an asset for BSNL,” the SNEA letter said.

Earlier, about 5,000 personnel who had initially opted for the scheme, withdrew their applications as the deadline ended.

The executives’ union also said employees are worried about the future of the company as it has not provided any time frame for payments to labourers, land owners and contractors, and electricity payments.

ALSO READ: BSNL credits October salary today

Published on December 11, 2019

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