Photo Credit: Money Sharma/ AFP
Telecom vendors' association TEMA has sought Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's intervention in getting Rs. 3,000 crores dues from BSNL, even despite the state-run firm has been reminded by suppliers and manufacturers several times.
In a letter to the Minister, the Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (TEMA) said: "There is issue of release of funds from USOF to BSNL for the works already done by BSNL vendors. DoT has not infused any equity in BSNL since last many years, where as other operators have invested in tens of thousands of crores in network rollout.
"In the present scenario where there are no funds with BSNL for O&M, the payments are being delayed by raising inter-departmental issues where vendors have no role to play and are waiting for the due payments as per tender terms and conditions. We request for your urgent intervention in the matter please ensure immediate release of pending payments from BSNL to manufacturers vendors by 15th October, 2019."
The letter cited Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's recent direction asking government departments to clear outstanding dues of suppliers and service providers, by October 15, to provide liquidity.
"The intention is to ensure that no Government Department is sitting on their dues for the goods and services received by it from the vendors, MSMEs - as an association representing the telecom equipment manufacturers, suppliers and MSMEs, we would like to bring to your kind notice that our members had time & again raised the issue of non-receipt of payments from BSNL against various projects and supplies related with LWE, Bharatnet, USOF and other projects, which are in the tune of about Rs. 3,000 crores and are pending for the past several months.
"This is a issue of concern. The domestic hi-tech telecom industry, who have invested heavily under the 'Design & Make in India' mission, is already under tremendous stress because of the liquidity crunch due to non-release of payments from BSNL and on some manufacturers, there is a legal threat from their vendors," TEMA Chairman N.K. Goyal said in the letter.
"If this situation continues, we have serious apprehension that the industry will not be able to sustain its operations any longer. This will not only kill the domestic industry but can also impact the operations of BSNL adversely," he said.
The letter also tags Finance Minister Sitharaman, Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, and Expenditure Secretary G.C. Murmu.