Srinagar: Finally, the officials at Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited main office at Srinagar are under scanner for multi-crore scam, which aims at “sabotaging” the BSNL telecom services, particularly broadband connectivity in Kashmir, only to benefit private players who thrive on such situations.
Highly placed sources said the office of Union Minister for Communications & Information Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad, has received complaint against “intriguingly poor BSNL telecom services in the Valley.”
For over a year, BSNL subscribers were up in arms over deteriorating services, while eyebrows were raised over some senior officials accused of sabotaging the services, only earn kickbacks from telecom competitors, who allegedly get benefitted.
The complaint received by the Union Ministry has only strengthened belief of corruption in the BSNL. “At a time when the central government wants the countrymen to reap benefits of the prestigious Digital India program as launched by Prime Minister Narendra Bhai Modi, the BSNL in Kashmir is playing intriguingly negative role,” reads the copy of the complaint sent to the Union Minister for Communications & Information Technology, Lodhi Road New Delhi.
The complaint states that while mobile services worsened over the years, the BSNL was allegedly sabotaging the broadband and landline connections where BSNL continues to hold monopoly.
“Apart from the poor mobile services, which worsened over the years, some black-sheep within the BSNL have ensured disrupting broadband and landline services. While earlier thousands of BSNL mobile subscribers switched over to the private network, now the poor landline and broadband services making subscribers go for another change,” the complaint reads.
“Even though the central government is spending millions to improve the broadband network in Kashmir, ahead of this upgradation, some vested interests in BSNL are hell bent that subscribers get fed up of its services and opt for switchover to private players,” the complaint added.
Presently BSNL has over 16,000 broadband subscribers in Kashmir while the number could rise after upgradation of connectivity. But to apparently discourage the subscribers, the services have been deliberately affected.
The BSNL subscribers complained that the broadband rarely works and if there’s any cable snap, the fault is not rectified for weeks together.
Presently over 500 landline and broadband connections are dead in Rawal Pora area for around a fortnight since the day the cable feeding the area snapped.
Official sources following public complaints even though the ground staff tried to repair the fault, some senior officials asked them to refrain from doing so. “The cable restoration was sabotaged by the senior officials in the department only so that the subscribers get irked and opt for connectivity provided by private operators,” said a source in the Barzulla exchange adding the fault would not be repaired for around a month.
Records reveal that even though the matter of sabotage of BSNL services to favor the competitors was brought to the notice of the General Manager Telecom and a Deputy General Manager, enjoying “political patronage”, the duo paid no heed to such complaints. “One of the senior Babus enjoys political patronage while the Union Telecom Ministry has been apprised about the same,” the sources said adding action was expected in the coming days.
Ironically, the complainants said the BSNL was the only government agency which earns more in the form of kickbacks against poor services.
But the GMT BSNL refuted the allegations. He said link of broadband was occasionally down and that it was being restored. But his colleagues said the services were likely to remain affected for over a month.