Employee unions of state-owned telecom firm BSNL have decided to launch a campaign for the removal of BSNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar alleging his failure to revive the company.
All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) issued a circular on September 27 to hold agitation around their charter of demands including removal of the CMD.
"A black-flag/black badge wearing demonstration will be organised on October 26, 2021 demanding settlement of the charter of demands. The removal of PK Purwar, CMD, BSNL, will also be included in the charter of demands," the circular said.
AUAB will start social media campaign on October 6 "demanding the removal" of Purwar from the post, it said.
The circular said all the leaders of various BSNL unions have expressed disappointment and anguish over the "failure" of the BSNL management to take steps for the revival of the firm, even after the approval of the revival package announced in 2019 and also to settle the problems of the employees.
"The meeting is of the unanimous view that PK Purwar...is mainly responsible for the all-round failure of the company," the circular said.
It may be noted that the government had offered a combined revival package of about Rs 69,000 crore to BSNL and MTNL in October 2019 that has helped both PSUs in narrowing their losses.
According to official data, losses of BSNL have narrowed to Rs 7,441 crore in 2020-21 from Rs 15,500 crore in 2019-20. However, the debt of BSNL stands at around Rs 30,000 crore.
AUAB alleged that BSNL management attempted to sabotage a three-day protest organised by it in September through an instruction letter to the circle heads and BSNL CMD rejected withdrawal of the letter.
"PK Purwar...could not do anything for its revival. Rather MTNL has collapsed now. So, there is no possibility of BSNL''s revival under the leadership of Purwar," the circular said.
In the last seven and half years, Purwar has led MTNL for over five years. Most of the time he has held additional charge as CMD of debt-ridden MTNL. He continues to hold the position while serving as full-time CMD of BSNL.
AUAB alleged that the CMD could have launched 4G services before April 2020 by just upgrading 49,300 mobile towers which have 4G compatible technology already installed by the earlier management.
"PK Purwar...did not take any action, other than giving one date after another viz. January 1, 2020, March 1, 2020, April 1, 2020 etc for launching 4G services. Not only that, Purwar...had even strongly opposed the steps taken by the then director (consumer mobility) for the upgradation of the towers. The earlier management had farsightedly procured 4G compatible equipment and installed it in the system," the circular said.
AUAB alleged that salary disbursement is not being done on due date despite around 80,000 employees leaving the company by opting for the voluntary retirement scheme.
"PK Purwar...has now made it known that disbursement of salary to the employees is not his first priority," the circular said.
Email query sent to BSNL elicited no reply.
However, a senior official of BSNL said unions were angered by the instruction letter which denied leave without pay to employees participating in the protest and only 30-40 people participated in the protest.
The officer said earlier there was a lag of 4-5 months in salary disbursement due to the financial crisis at the company but it has been improved and salaries are now being disbursed every month.
AUAB said landline and broadband services are severely affected due to the cluster-based outsourcing system alleging that it was adamantly implemented by the BSNL CMD for which payments are also being made on time and also out of the way whereas all other labour payments have been stopped.
The Union has alleged that the transmission system of the company is collapsing due to non-allotment of funds and proper attention despite repeated appeals made by AUAB.
AUAB alleged that the BSNL CMD has imposed an undeclared ban on promotion of the employees and thereby dooming their future.
It alleged that the workload has increased on BSNL employees after the VRS and alleged that the BSNL CMD is taking steps to further cut down the employee strength massively in the name of restructuring.