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Telegram was incurring losses for more than a decade: SD Saxena

IBNLive.com
Jul 15, 2013 at 04:35pm IST

Would it have been possible for BSNL to continue the telegram service in a small, token manner with an aim to preserve a heritage rather than putting a total stop to it? What happens to all the employees who were engaged in providing the service? BSNL's former director of Finance SD Saxena joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the end of telegram.

Q. Is it possible to restart telegram service in case of emergency? Suppose there is a massive cyber attack on telephone, internet, then I think only telegram and post would be medium to communicate safely? Asked by: bhaz

Telegram was incurring losses for more than a decade: SD Saxena

BSNL's former director of Finance SD Saxena joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the end of telegram.

A. Telegraph services can be restarted at a comparatively short notice due to the simplistic technology involved. However the presnt day telegraph service also uses computer network and servers and is equally prone to Cyber attack.

Q. BSNL can use the various premises of the telegraph offices to accommodate Internet cafes for use by tourist and those not having a net connectivity of their own. Any such idea? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. In fact at some of the present Telegraph offices such facilities were provided. The usage was very poor and some of these services were shut down.

Q. Similar to telegram we are told the landline connection also face a threat of Extinction .How much of loss is BSNL suffering on this count. From days of getting a MP recommendation to have a landline out of turn to today's roadshows of BSNL for their mobile and BB services, has the BSNL worked out a long term strategy to stay in business? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. The land line services are there to stay specially for the Broad band connectivity for the present. A number of strategies for the usage of land line connections have been worked out and are being tried. In France despite proliferation of mobile connectivity France Telecom launched a drive for second land line connection; this scheme was a roaring success.In view of the radiation problem and weak signal etc use of land line is progressively increasing.

Q. Having stopped services for public will the department at BSNL retain the infrastructure for it's own internal communication and for reach to the borders areas of the country? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. The infrastructure will be merged with the existing network and will not be wasted.

Q. A service mostly used earlier by business community the telex is existent or had died without so much of grief as of Telegram? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Telex died long back without anyone shedding tears because but telegram FAX services completely replaced the Telex as a better alternative.Telegrams could not be wound up because the commen public was involved and much more the press and media used the services as the cheapest mode of communication. A press telegram of unlimited words still used to cost only a rupee. The rates of Telegram were never raised under the plea that press will not approve of such a hike and that it is a service used by poor people since 1938.

Q. One report said annually Rs 100 crore is expenditure for BSNL on telegraph dept with a revenue of Rs 76 lakhs. There was another report that losses amounting to Rs 8000 crores had been due to operations of Telegram services being kept open. What is the correct position? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. The loss was in the vicinity of Approx. Rs. 300 Crores. The Revenue was close to a crore thus the loss was 300 times the revenue.

Q. Did BSNL think of privatising this services so that any interested party could have had an innovative way of commercial exploitation of an area which was in total PS domain? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. No, mainly because no one was interested in such a primitive service any more.

Q. BSNL should have hopefully planned for redeployment of the present employees on the telegram wing to other areas in BSNL. It could have started in a phased manner earlier itself. Has this been done? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. The process was started long back. People were deployed for collection of Telephone bills as early as 1990s.

Q. Economics and commercial consideration overweight nostalgia and sentiments. Was it not a right decision to end the service and minimise the waste of public money on a service in which public had no interest? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Absolutely.

Q. Globally what is the state of telegraph services? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. As far as my knowledge goes the service was withdrawn by most of the Telecom companies long long ago.

Q. Isn't it an extra burden to provide an obsolete service? Instead, employees engaged in such services can be trained and utilized in opening of other modern services. Asked by: Ashutosh Tripathi

A. This is being done. in a phased manner people were redeployed on other jobs like telephone billing as early as 1990 and also on other jobs of marketing of services.

Q. For how long the telegram department was in loss? Asked by: Ankur

A. For quite some time, more than a decade.

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