Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday offered to discuss the issue of call drops and poor service by state-owned BSNL and MTNL in the Rajya Sabha.
Prasad made the offer after K N Balagopal (CPI-M) raised the issue of poor quality of service, call drops and non-continuous broadband on MTNL/BSNL network.
Stating that the state of affairs of these companies was not satisfactory, he said the companies which were once making handsome profits but were now in the red. Balagopal demanded an inquiry into "someone in-house playing into the hands of private operators."
He also said "how much they are amassing, some inquiry has to be done."
In his response, Prasad denied "playing in hands of private operators."
He also said the "Sanchar Bhawan (the seat of Telecom Ministry) is free from corruption."
The Minister said BSNL had made a profit of Rs 10,000 crore when the Vajpayee government demitted office in 2004 and 10 years later when the BJP government took over, it had a loss of Rs 8000 crore.
"Who did this to BSNL in last 10 years? I am willing to have full discussion," Prasad said.
On the issue of call drops, he said government pressure on private operators has resulted in installation of 20,000 towers and the issue was being continuously monitored.
Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) said call drops are becoming unbearing. "Is it only a technical problem or a policy so that there is no protests against the government?"
Prasad said he was willing for a discussion on call drop issue to articulate what the government has done on it.
In a jocular vein, Yechury referred to Parliamentary Affairs Minister M Venkaiah Naidu's statement few years back that he was facing marital problems because the calls of his wife would not go through to him.
Prasad in a tongue-in-cheek retort offered to rectify any such problem that Yechury might be facing. Ramgopal Yadav (SP) said calls were also dropping because of snooping.