All India BSNL Officers Association has demanded that the Union government provide maximum assistance to BSNL and MTNL to tide over the present financial crisis and to expand as well as improve their services. A resolution was adopted at the association meeting held here on Saturday. The officers pointed out that only after BSNL and MTNL entered the mobile services, the private companies reduced the tariff. The opposition from the private telecom companies to granting any financial assistance by the government to the BSNL and MTNL was unjustified, it said. The two telecom public sector undertakings had posted loss for the last three years. The private companies had been continuously getting all benefits and undue favours from the government most of which were denied to the telecom PSUs.

As government companies, the BSNL and MTNL had been fulfilling the social commitment by providing network coverage in villages and remote areas although it was unviable. The assistance being given from the USO (Universal Service Obligation) Fund was nominal and completely insufficient, it said.

Out of the Rs. 40,000 crore surplus cash with the company at the time of formation, almost all of it had been taken by the government in the name of spectrum charges and repayment of notional loan of Rs. 7,500 crore with unusually high interest.

The PSUs had a large and senior workforce inherited from the government and their salaries came to around 40 per cent of the expenditure. All these factors had resulted in the PSUs posting loss for the last three years.