Rs 400 crore outstanding, BSNL serves notice to private operators

The Vadodara Telecom District of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has issued notices to private telecom service providers for defaulting on payments to the tune of Rs 22 crore in respect of using its facilities to provide roaming services to their customers.

The agreement between BSNL and the cellular mobile service

operators say the latter need to pay Rs 25 for each subscriber per month for roaming services, but BSNL officials say this has been flouted for years together.

According to BSNL officials, in Gujarat alone, the approximate amount due is around Rs 30 crore, and countrywide, the figure may well touch Rs 400 crore. Some of the leading mobile service providers have not paid BSNL since 1997, they said.

S K Bhandari, Principal General Manager, BSNL, Ahmedabad told The Indian Express: "We have already generated a bill of Rs 22 crore and they (private operators) have been issued a deadline too. We will decide on the course of action once we get a response from the private cellular operators."

Officials say the BSNL's Vigilance department has now issued instructions for installing the equipment monitoring the customers' movement out of their home states and their use of roaming facilities. Also, each telecom circle across India has been alerted on the issue.

The latest communication from BSNL's Finance department to all the telecom circles says: "All heads of circle (state) are requested to confirm that differential bills along with the applicable interest have been raised on the Private CMSP and have been recovered also. The operator-wise details of billing applicable interest and the recovery made may be furnished to this office positively by February 26. It may be noted that the office of the Chief Vigilance Officer, BSNL is also monitoring the billing and recovery of national and international roaming charges by field units to and from private operators, and has sought a report on the matter."

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