Facing a severe financial crunch, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has approached the Centre seeking its nod to utilise its huge land bank to fund its expansion plans and for facing cut-throat competition from private players. As part of the pilot project, the telecom PSU has asked the government to allow development of land for commercial and residential use in Mumbai and Noida which is likely to fetch over Rs.3,500 crore.
In its proposal sent to the Group of Ministers (GoM), the BSNL has said it has identified 82 land parcels spread across seven key cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Noida, Chennai and Bangalore. For Phase I of this ambitious project, the BSNL has zeroed in on 10 land parcels and the GoM has been proposed to clear five land banks for developing special economic zones, IT and knowledge parks, residential complexes and corporate offices as part of its pilot project. While the entire Phase-I is likely to fetch over Rs.13,439 crore, the BSNL hopes to garner at least Rs.3,500 crore as per prevailing market rates estimated by consultants, which would be utilised to “revive and revitalise itself and to improve its financial position.” “It will also help BSNL to keep itself floating in the highly competitive telecom sector,” the GoM note says.
The five land parcels earmarked for the project are 37 acres of land in Borivali (east), 6.63 acres in Santa Cruz (West) and 25.5 acre in Deonar (all in Mumbai), besides two plots worth 6,000 sq m and 3,380 sq m in upmarket Noida. The BSNL has also sought clearance for renting out over 30,000 sq m space in a newly constructed administrative building in Chennai that would fetch around Rs.5 crore monthly rental.