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Maran's 10-point action plan for BSNL, MTNL to face competition

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Nov. 19

THE Minister for Communications & Information Technology, Mr Dayanidhi Maran, on Friday laid out a 10-point action plan for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd for effectively competing against the private sector telecom companies.

In a meeting with all the heads of telecom circles of the two public sector companies, Mr Maran directed the officers to prepare a detailed plan with yearly and monthly targets and called for an integrated, professional approach in meeting the target of providing 200-250 million telephones by the year 2007. These would be monitored by a committee to ensure its compliance.

Expressing concern over decline in the share of public sector companies in the overall telephone connections during the last five years, the Minister said, "In order to maintain the market domination, they must plan for an additional 100-150 million lines over the next three years.''

Referring to the need to bring down the gap in teledensity between urban and rural areas, Mr Maran said, "We must reach out to the rural areas. All unconnected villages must be connected in a time-bound manner. We must have a time-bound plan to cover all tehsils and block headquarters.''

The 10-point action plan includes provision of 250 million lines by 2007, provision of 20 million Internet and 10 million broadband connection by 2007, covering all tehsils and block headquarters in a time-bound manner and circle-wise targets to be drawn up by November 20 this year. BSNL and MTNL have also been asked to work out appropriate methods for raising finance and procuring equipment.

To improve its customer focus, the two PSUs have been directed that telephone on demand must be achieved in a time-bound manner with incentives for those who achieve the set targets. Mr Maran has directed them to achieve greater professionalism and convert each local exchange into a profit centre.

The Minister further said that change in attitude and greater professionalism in working will lead to better quality of services. Besides this, the service oriented industry demands faster complaint redressal mechanism with a view to meet the demands of the general public.

Keeping in view the recently announced Broadband Policy 2004, Mr Maran asked the heads of circles not to restrict themselves to the voice services alone for revenue generation but they must focus on Internet and broadband services to ensure financial viability.

Expressing concern over the delay in procurement, the Minister stressed the need to maintain a consistent supply of equipment to each circle in time by drawing up a well forecast plan based on the anticipated demand, so as to avoid unnecessary waiting lists for telephone connection.

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