While State-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has been working hard to complete its projects, some of the major projects are facing delays due to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) and the Department of Telecom not giving the go-ahead or required funds on time.
According to government sources, many of the projects were discussed during the Telecom Commission meet recently, but not given much attention was paid to BSNL projects.
Optical fibre project
For instance, the tender for optical fibre communication (OFC)/ transmission augmentation project in North Eastern States was floated in early 2015, for which the cost obtained was intimidated to USOF in early 2016, but it raised some queries and finally the tender was cancelled by USOF in April this year.
“BSNL refloated the tender on May 4 and due to multiple queries with regard to Goods and Services Tax issues, the tender was rescheduled to open this month. A tender for equipment will be floated subsequently, and BSNL would complete the tender evaluation process in four months after the submission of bids,” a senior government official told BusinessLine.
Another official said the Telecom Commission in its last week’s meeting decided to award a ₹3,100-crore contract to Bharti Airtel for connecting 4,500 villages in the North East, so why was some go-ahead given to BSNL projects in the same region.
A few other projects such as mobile coverage project in Arunachal Pradesh and submarine OFC connectivity between mainland India (Chennai) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands were also getting delayed due to USOF’s indecisiveness, the sources said.
Since the funds are also not released in time, most of the projects are being delayed, which is hampering connectivity, officials added. – The Hindu Business Line