Vendors Mull Insolvency Action Against BSNL, MTNL For Pending Payments
Indian two thousand and five hundred rupee banknotes are arranged for a photograph in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Vendors Mull Insolvency Action Against BSNL, MTNL For Pending Payments

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Some vendors of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd. are mulling to move insolvency pleas against the state-run firms for non-payment of dues, estimated to be around Rs 20,000 crore, a senior industry body executive said on Monday.

The pending payments are against the supply of telecom gear and other goods to BSNL and MTNL as well as Rs 45,000-crore rural broadband project BharatNet, PHD Chamber of Commerce Telecom Committee chairman Sandeep Aggarwal told PTI.

"The total pending payment of BSNL and MTNL vendors is around Rs 20,000 crore. Banks have started putting pressure on vendors to clear their dues. All vendors will jointly stage a protest on Nov. 19. If payments are not made within 10 days thereafter, they will approach NCLT for liquidation of BSNL and MTNL," Aggarwal claimed.

When contacted, MTNL Chairman and Managing Director Sunil Kumar said, "vendor payment due on MTNL is not very high. It will be not more than Rs 400 crore. We are well placed to clear the the dues very soon."

Email queries sent to BSNL over the pending dues of vendors remained unanswered till the filing of the story.

The Telecom Export Promotion Council on Oct. 31, wrote to the administrator of Universal Service Obligation Fund to pay long-pending dues of around Rs 2,000 crore to various vendors. USOF manages the BharatNet project.

These vendors include Sterlite Technologies (Rs 500 crore due), Tejas Networks (Rs 314 crore), Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd. (Rs 219 crore), Paramount Wires and Cables (Rs 168 crore), VNL (Rs 150 crore) etc, according to the letter.

In a letter to telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Paramount said its bankers are pressuring the company to clear their dues at the earliest.

"Our plant has remained mostly shut, since we do not have funds to buy raw materials. Creditors are refusing to supply even at high prices. Our staff and worker salaries have not been paid for the last two months. This has never happened in our history," Paramount said.

Last month, the Cabinet approved a Rs 69,000-crore revival plan for BSNL and MTNL but dues of many vendors are still unpaid.

Aggarwal said that around 1 lakh direct employment are affected due to non-payment of dues by government-run firms.

"With Rs 20,000 crore payment due, around 1 crore manhours salary has not been paid," he said.

Also read: BSNL, MTNL Staff Meet Telecom Minister, Pledge Support To Government’s Relief Plan

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