BSNL In Talks With CBSE For Land Sale, Eyes Rs 300 Crore From Asset Monetisation
Signage for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) is displayed atop the company’s head office in the Churchgate area of Mumbai,

BSNL In Talks With CBSE For Land Sale, Eyes Rs 300 Crore From Asset Monetisation

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State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. has initiated discussions with Central Board of Secondary Education and others for sale of specific land parcels, as part of an asset monetisation plan to raise as much as Rs 300 crore in 2019-20, according to a senior government official.

The telecom department has sounded out the union finance ministry on BSNL’s plans to issue sovereign guarantee bonds, which could be floated as early as February, once the requisite approvals come in.

Meanwhile, the voluntary retirement scheme, or VRS, rolled out by both BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. have been highly successful, and will help reduce BSNL's wage bill by 50 percent and MTNL's by 75 percent.

"They will be given sovereign guarantee for raising bonds of over Rs 15,000 crore. We have already written to the finance ministry, and as soon as they give us clearance... because they have some issue of guarantee space... we will do it,” a DoT official said.

The proceeds will be used for debt servicing and capital expenditure.

On BSNL’s asset monetisation plans, the official said certain assets have already been identified and one meeting with the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, or DIPAM, has already taken place.

"Already one meeting has taken place on which assets can be taken up for sale immediately and all efforts are being made to expedite it," the official said.

Besides this, BSNL on its own is in negotiation with CBSE and others for sale of some land parcels. Overall, the asset monetisation plans may yield about Rs 300 crore in the current financial year itself, the DoT official said.

It may be recalled that BSNL Chairman PK Purwar had recently stated that the telecom firm has cleared Rs 1,700 crore of vendors dues. It has also made a salary payment to its employees for the month of November. Overall, the outstanding creditors are Rs 10,000 crore.

In October this year, the government approved a Rs 69,000 crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes merger of the the two loss-making firms, asset monetisation and VRS for employees above 50 years of age.

The revival plan is aimed at making the combined entity profitable in two years.

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