Over 1,000 mobile towers of BSNL not functional over non-payment of energy bills: Prasad

New Delhi: Over 1,000 mobile towers and 500 telephone exchanges of cash-strapped Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) are not functional due to non-payment of electricity bills, Parliament was informed on Wednesday. A comprehensive revival plan for two state-owned firms BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd (MTNL) is under preparation, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. "Action has already been initiated by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and a comprehensive revival plan for BSNL and MTNL is under preparation," the minister said.

In the case of BSNL, the number of non-functional mobile towers and telephone exchanges due to non-payment of energy bills added up to 1,083 and 524, respectively, in various locations. To another question, the minister said BSNL has informed that its 258 mobile towers are not functional on account of non-payment of dues to the land owners. "BSNL has also informed that building owners are being pursued and payment will be made in due course of time," he said.

While the total market share of BSNL rose marginally between March 2017 and March 2019, MTNL's market share declined. For 2018-19, BSNL saw 53.64 lakh subscriber port-in, and 28.27 lakh port-outs, whereas MTNL for the same year saw 10,195 port-in as against 1.35 lakh port-outs. "BSNL and MTNL have been incurring losses continuously since financial year 2009- 10," the minister said.

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