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BSNL close to achieving VRS target

State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) is close to achieving its voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) target, with as many as 75,000 employees opting for the scheme within a week.

The company is expected to save about ₹7,500 crore by offering the scheme to 80,000 employees above 50 years of age.

“A little over 75,000 personnel have opted for the VRS as of today evening and the management is expecting it to cross 80,000 within a day or two. The scheme can be termed a success as the subscription for the scheme ended much earlier than expected as generally employees would only sign up closer to the cut-off date,” a source privy to the development told BusinessLine.

Earlier in the day, BSNL Chairman and Managing Director PK Purwar told Press Trust of India that as many as 70,000 employees of BSNL had already opted for the scheme.

The VRS scheme, which opened on November 4, will close at 5.30 pm on December 3.

BSNL employs nearly 1.59 lakh personnel as of date, of which nearly 1.06 lakh are above 50 (eligible for VRS). The company’s employee costs stood at ₹14,492 crore in 2018-19.

Rolling out 4G

Under the proposed VRS formula, employees will get 100-125 per cent of the salary for remaining years of service, including pension, based on the retiring month wage.

BSNL would ready its nearly 40,000 base transceiver systems (BTS) and core equipment to make them 4G compatible on a war-footing, as the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has assured of allotting it spectrum.

These decisions came after a meeting of All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) officials with the CMD last week.

“There are some minor software and hardware upgradation required for these BTS, which can be completed in two months with the vendors support. That is, the vendors have to provide equipment at the prices quoted earlier,” another source said.

The debt-ladden company owes about Rs 1,400 crore to a clutch of lenders, and this could be the only bottleneck”.

BSNL already has 10,000 BTS that are 4G ready. Further the PSU also has 20 MHz spectrum in the 2600 band (Broadband and Wireless

Access spectrum), except in six circles, where the spectrum was surrendered. These can be also be used to provide high-quality 4G services, he added.

Source: The Hindu