New Delhi: State-run BSNL is losing about Rs400 crore a year for fulfilling yet another social obligation - telegram service.
The PSU, which delivers the telegram messages to people, carries crores of messages a year and since the service is offered much below cost, the losses mount as the volume goes up, sources in the PSU said.
As per an estimate, the losses could be around Rs400 crore a year from such heavily subsidised service, sources said.
When contacted, BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldeep Goyal told PTI, “Telegram service of BSNL is a loss making proposition. We would like to have USO subsidy from the Government to cover this service”.
Even in an age of internet, SMS and instant messaging, the importance of telegram has not diminished as the message sent through it is admissible in court as proof making it a sound mechanism for Government offices to use this process.
Sources said even if tariffs could be revised in anytime, it would not match the huge gap between the cost of sending a telegram for BSNL and the consumer tariffs.
Unlisted BSNL, which has seen its marketshare eroding in mobile services due to heavy competition, also suffers huge losses due to its legacy operations of giving telecom facilities to rural and remote parts of the country. Though it gets most of the USO Fund at a later stage through bidding, it does have to pay for USO Fund like private players first.
With more and more private players going for rural areas, its share on the USO kitty has also gone down over the last one year.