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BSNL plans to trim landline operations, cut jobs

KOLKATA: State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) plans to sharply scale down the manpower strength of its beleaguered landline business, which accounts for nearly 65% of its 2.77 lakh-strong workforce, in one of the boldest moves to transform the loss-making telco into a nimble, profit-making organisation.

"Poor revenues coupled with a steep reduction in the number of landline connections over the past three years from some 34 million to under 25 million has made a sizeable number of positions and functions in the consumer fixed access (CFA) division redundant. A review of the manpower requirement is underway, but we are yet to take a call on which positions to retain and which to abolish," a top company executive with direct knowledge of the development told ET.

At present, BSNL is doing an internal assessment of whether its loss-making landline business justifies the existence of innumerable phone mechanics, telecom technical assistants, regular mazdoors and junior telecom officers who collectively number more than a whopping 1.5 lakh on its rolls.

The number of staff functions in the CFA business is directly linked to the number of active landlines. But the growing instances of people surrendering their landlines has induced BSNL's senior management to consider outsourcing a host of activities, including operations & maintenance.
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