New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday attacked the BJP government over the merger of BSNL and MTNL, saying it follows the process of "merge, mismanage, show mega losses and sell cheap to crony capitalists".
The government on Wednesday approved a Rs 68,751-crore revival package for public sector telecom companies BSNL and MTNL, including 4G spectrum allocation and voluntary retirement scheme, as well as their merger.
"Step 1: Merge. Step 2: Mismanage. Step 3: Show Mega Losses. Step 4: Sell Cheap to Crony Capitalist," Gandhi said on Twitter using the hashtag "BsnlMtnlMerger".
The revival package includes raising of Rs 15,000 crore sovereign bonds to meet immediate capital requirement of both the companies, 4G spectrum allocation worth Rs 20,140 crore, Rs 29,937 crore for VRS (voluntary retirement service) covering 50% of their employees, and Rs 3,674 crore for goods and services tax that will be levied on allocation of radiowaves.
BSNL has around 1.68 lakh employees and MTNL around 22,000. "The VRS is voluntary; nobody can be forced to opt for it," Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The total debt on both the companies stood at Rs 40,000 crore, of which half of the liability is on MTNL alone which operates in Delhi and Mumbai.