BSNL hit by Gorkhaland stir, faces Rs.2.4 cr loss (Lead, superseding earlier story, correcting figures)

February 5th, 2010 - 10:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Feb 5 (IANS) State-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) faced a revenue loss of Rs.2.4 crore in the Darjeeling Hills during 2008-09 financial year due to the ongoing agitation for a separate Gorkhaland state, a company official said.
“We are indeed facing serious problems in Darjeeling Hills as several subscribers have stopped paying their BSNL telephone bills. The Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) activists have also closed all BSNL counters in the region,” BSNL Bengal circle chief general manager Soumya Roy told IANS.

“The BSNL had faced a revenue loss of Rs.2.4 crore in 2008-09 financial year.”

“We have not calculated the revenue loss in the current fiscal but we are expecting similar figure this year also.”

Roy said that a few BSNL counters were opened almost five months back in Darjeeling Hills but those had to be closed again following GJM protests in the region.

Led by the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM), protesters are demanding a separate Gorkhaland state comprising the hills and parts of the plains.

“Several subscribers have declined to pay bills,” Calcutta Telephones chief general manager V.K. Garg said while launching BSNL’s 3G additional video services.

Referring to the over 15,000 fixed landline subscribers in the Darjeeling hills, he said: “It will be impossible for us to provide services to these customers without being paid for an indefinite period.”

Talking about the BSNL subscriber base, Garg said: “Presently the BSNL Calcutta telephones has nearly 17 lakh mobile and 253,123 lakh broadband subscribers. The total figure of mobile subscription has gone up by two lakh compared to the corresponding period last year.”

“We are also expecting to touch 50,000 3G customer base from the current 12,000 by March 2010,” he said.

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