State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has submitted details of 14 properties worth Rs 20,160 crore to the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) as part of the telecom corporations' ambitious asset monetisation plans, according to its Chairman.
Meanwhile, a government source told PTI that the Ministry of Skill Development is looking for a land parcel and the Department of Telecom (DoT) has offered BSNL land in Ghaziabad to the ministry. The estimated value of that land is Rs 2,000 crore.
When contacted, BSNL Chairman and Managing Director P K Purwar said, "The corporation is making all out efforts to monetise its assets and has identified 14 assets worth over Rs 20,000 crore through the DIPAM route". Purwar said these land parcels are spread across India in locations like Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Ghaziabad and other places.
In October last year, the government had approved a Rs 69,000 crore revival package for BSNL and MTNL that includes merging the two loss-making firms, monetising their assets and giving VRS to employees so that the combined entity turns profitable in two years.
The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved a plan to combine Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) -- which provides services in Mumbai and New Delhi -- with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) that services the rest of the nation.
Over the last few weeks, both the companies have launched their VRS plans and thousands of employees of BSNL and MTNL have opted for voluntary retirement. The scheme will help reduce BSNL's wage bill by 50 per cent and MTNL's by 75 per cent. The two firms will also monetise assets worth thousands of crores in the next three years. MTNL has reported losses in nine of the past 10 years and BSNL too has been in the red since 2010.
BSNL has initiated discussions with the Central Board of Secondary Education for sale of specific land parcels. Moreover, the DoT has also sounded out the Ministry of Finance about BSNL's plans to issue sovereign guarantee bonds. These could be floated as early as February, once the requisite approvals come in.