BSNL promises to take quick action on BharatNet Concerns

Bharat Sanchar Nagar Nigam (BSNL) has been receiving the blame for the inconsistency in upholding of BharatNet infrastructure. Due to this, BSNL has vowed to take action against erring officers, but asserted that its maintenance responsibility pertains to only the optical fibre portion, PTI reports.

According to the report, the state-run telco has also sounded out Department of Telecom (DoT) about Rs 617 crore of dues pending from Bharat Broadband Network Ltd (BBNL), as operation and maintenance payment for BharatNet project.

When contacted, BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava refused to comment on the matter, as reported by PTI.

But sources aware of the matter, according to the report by PTI, said that the company has written to DoT stating that though, the fault lies with BSNL for preventive and corrective maintenance of the optical fibre portion—connecting gram panchayats, the responsibility of remaining network elements, lay with other agencies.

The report stated, addressing the concerns raised by the Telecom Secretary on BharatNet project, BSNL has also suggested that mechanism be worked out at the earliest that allocates faults pertaining to only the optical fibre portion, to the telecom corporation.

BSNL has claimed, according to the PTI report , that BBNL has not taken steps to put in place such a mechanism despite the state-owned telecom service provider repeatedly insisting on the same,.

Previously during this month, the telecom department reportedly pulled up BSNL and BBNL over underutilisation of BharatNet infrastructure as well as deficiencies in maintenance of the project that seeks to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayats through high-speed broadband by March 2019.

As reported by PTI, the absence of a mechanism to segregate the faults in the network makes it difficult to initiate action against officials, as some of the problems may turn out to be beyond their area of responsibility, BSNL has said. It has also assured DoT that it will take disciplinary action against the officials lacking in discharge of duties, PTI reports.

Sources said BSNL CMD has also instructed Director (enterprise) to look into the outstanding issues in streamlining operations and maintenance of BharatNet. BSNL has also highlighted that the states would need to take equal responsibility of ensuring utilisation of the massive rural broadband infrastructure that is being put in place, according to the PTI report.

According to the report, nearly 50 per cent of the work on the BharatNet project has been completed and when fully operational, it will facilitate delivery of e-governance, e-health, e-education, e-banking and other services to citizens across the country.

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