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BSNL employees are 'traitors', BJP MP raises a storm

Anant Kumar Hegde's fiery speech comes in the background of a widespread allegation that, like other white elephants, BSNL too exists to pay for its two lakh employees' good life at the expense of the rest of India.

BENGALURU, Aug 10: BJP MP Anant Kumar Hegde has created yet another controversy by saying that the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) workers are 'traitors.' He clarified that there is no justification in spending public money when it has no utility.

The MP from Uttara Kannada was speaking at a function in his constituency on Monday.

He said that the Govt-owned BSNL was a blot on the country as even after being provided money, infrastructure and a ready market, the telco’s employees just refuse to work. “The only cure for that is privatisation which our Government will do."

The Congress criticised Hegde’s remarks saying that it only showed the Centre's inability to govern and they want to privatise everything.

Anant Kumar is not new to controversies. In February last he described the freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi as a "drama". Last year he was reported to have described then Congress president Rahul Gandhi a “hybrid specimen."

Several MPs had raised in Parliament the ongoing crisis in BSNL, its poor financial status as well as performance. Unlike most other public sector white elephants, BSNL stands exposed as its customers are the public.

On June 26, 2019, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad disclosed in the Lok Sabha that the total employee cost of MTNL and BSNL far outweighed the total employee cost for private telcos.

BSNL has today 1.63 lakh employees and MTNL has 21,679 employees. It is widely alleged that no phone works. The employee cost for BSNL is 75.06 per cent while for MTNL the employee cost is 87.15 per cent, of the total income. Employee cost for private telecom companies varies from 2 to 5 per cent of the total income, the Minister said.

The BSNL and MTNL have today about 2 lakh employees and 80 per cent of the expenditure from public money goes to pay their salaries and perks. But no phone works, it is alleged.

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