BSNL Staffer Commits Suicide After Non-Payment Of Salary For Over 10 Months In Kerala
A contract employee of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) allegedly committed suicide after not receiving his salary since January 2019. The 52-year old hanged himself at the BSNL office in Nilambur of Malappuram district, Kerala on Thursday.
Ramakrishnan, a native of Vandoor, had been working with BSNL for the last 30 years as housekeeping staff. As per The New Indian Express report, Nilambur police stated that Ramakrishnan had reached the office around 8:30 am. He hanged himself from the ceiling when the security officer left the office for a break.
“Financial crisis in the BSNL and anti-labourer policies of the central government killed Ramakrishnan. Recently, his contract period expired and the contractor and the BSNL authorities were trying to dismiss him from the job. As part of it, his working days were cut short to 3 from 6 a week and working hours to 3 hours from 6 hours. These issues might have forced him to commit suicide,” the members of the BSNL Casual Contract Labourers Union (CCLU), Kerala, said while talking to the media.
The contract employees are unpaid for the last 10 months. Demanding payment for salary dues, the CCLU members have been protesting in Kerala since June 24.
“More than 60 contract employees have recently lost jobs in the district. Most of the BSNL contract labourers are living in the fear of losing their jobs. People like Ramakrishnan took up the job several years back expecting a permanent job later in the company. But the new policies of the central government makes many BSNL contract employees jobless,” Aboobacker. N.T, Assistant Secretary of BSNL CCLU, was quoted as saying by the media.
Meanwhile, Elamaram Kareem, General Secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions, alleged that the central government is responsible for Ramakrishnan’s death. “Government is destroying BSNL to help Jio,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
BSNL has been delaying the salary of its employees since February 2019 after it suffered an estimated loss of Rs 14,000 crore in 2018-19. The total loss of the telecom company stood close to Rs 32,000 crore over the past four years.
In order to revive the struggling entity, the Union Cabinet had approved the merging of state-owned BSNL and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited(MTNL) on October 23. The government had approved a package of nearly Rs 70,000 crore and monetised real estate assets worth Rs 37,500 crore.
The revival plan also includes Rs 20,140 crores for purchase of 4G spectrum, Rs 3,674 crores for GST for spectrum allocation, and voluntary retirement to their employees through the Voluntary Retirement Scheme(VRS) amounting to Rs 17,160.
On November 4, BSNL had rolled out VRS which is eligible for nearly one lakh BSNL employees. Within two days, over 22,000 employees had opted for the scheme, out of BSNL’s internal target of 77,000 employees.
As per the BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme – 2019, all regular and permanent employees of BSNL, including those on deputation to other organisation or posted outside BSNL on deputation basis, and of or above 50 years of age are eligible for voluntary retirement. The scheme will be open until December 3.