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India BSNL Fails To Honour Rs 392 Cheque

Jan 1, 2010
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HYDERABAD: An amount of Rs 392 would be a drop in the ocean for Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) but a cheque for this amount issued by it to a customer bounced due to `insufficient funds' in the telecom firm's account. BSNL officials say that they have been reeling under losses and that the account on which the cheque was issued indeed had insufficient funds.

The customer, Govindram Phoolchand Agarwal, a cloth merchant and resident of Ranigunj, Secunderabad, got his landline connection (040-27846159) disconnected and approached BSNL with a request to refund the deposit. BSNL issued a cheque (numbered 047583) for Rs 392 towards refund of the deposit amount, which Agarwal had paid at the time of applying for the landline connection. When submitted at the Nagpur branch of Corporation Bank (where Agarwal has now moved base), the cheque bounced as there were `insufficient funds' in BSNL's account to pay Agarwal his due.

"It is hard to believe that a major government sector unit is cash-strapped to this extent. The very fact that it does not have funds even to clear a cheque of Rs 392 in unnerving," said Gopal Agarwal, Govindram Agarwal's grandson, who is pursuing the case on behalf of his 80-year-old grandfather.

BSNL officials in Hyderabad confirmed that the firm had insufficient funds in its account. "At the time when the cheque was deposited, there were insufficient funds but when they contacted us later, we asked them to file a representation before us and submit a fresh cheque which we would issue to withdraw the amount," said a senior BSNL officer in Hyderabad.

According to BSNL officials, the company is losing out on revenue due to the stiff competition it is facing from private players with regard to tariff rates. Also the growing tendency of subscribers to get their fixed wire lines disconnected in favour of mobile phones is making it more difficult for the telecom giant to overcome the huge losses it is currently facing. In the past three years, BSNL has lost six lakh landline customers both in the domestic and official sectors nationally.

In fact, there has been a drastic dip of Rs 1,822 crore in BSNL's revenue collection nationally in the last financial year (2009-10).

Agarwal's case is not an exception. Two cheques issued by BSNL in New Delhi recently were similarly dishonoured. The customers in this case moved the court against BSNL's top officials.

Read more: BSNL fails to honour Rs 392 cheque - The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/BSNL-fails-to-honour-Rs-392-cheque/articleshow/7225494.cms#ixzz1AMFp687u

Rajneesh Madhok
 

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