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Home > Business > PTI > Report

Sunil Mittal slammed for anti-BSNL outcry

November 08, 2007 17:33 IST

Airtel chief Sunil Mittal's remarks against Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam [Get Quote] Limited have evoked sharp reaction from the government, with Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh slamming the telecom czar for castigating the PSUs, which were subjected to "aggressive lobbying" from private competitors.

"Public Service Enterprises have to face many constraints in their operations not the least being aggressive lobby by the competitors to stymie their expansion," Ramesh said in a letter to Mittal expressing deep disappointment at the entrepreneur's views on BSNL and MTNL.

Mittal had objected to allocation of spectrum to the PSUs, especially BSNL that does not fulfill subscriber-based criteria as prescribed in the current policy.

"I was anguished at your comments on BSNL and MTNL. I am well aware that there are differing opinions on the best way of allocating spectrum. You (Mittal) have a point of view which you have expressed forcefully. But what pained me is the manner in which you have castigated BSNL particularly," the minister said.

BSNL has been facing many hurdles to expand its operations in the mobile telephony and was reduced with virtually nil capacity to offer any new connection and has been losing its market share to private competitors.

Ramesh also pointed out that PSUs have done far better in meeting social obligations compared to private players and singled out BSNL for appreciation for the role it played.

"I can tell you from my experience, and there are a few who travel regularly across the country as I do, that BSNL has fulfilled a larger social role much more effectively than your own company or any other private service provider," the minister said.

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