Privatisation of Long Distance Telephony

Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Press Statement

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The announcement by the Prime Minister about privatising long-distance telephone operations is one more step in the opening up of the telecom sector, which will adversely affect the development of telephone network in the rural and remote areas and the policy to provide universal service and maximum penetration.

The Department of Telecom Services will lose Rs. 7,000 crores, as a result of the decision to open up the long-distance calls to the private sector. The tariff of the long-distance calls was fixed to cross-subsidise local services and provide funds for overall telephone development. Now the local rent/tariff will increase substantially for the ordinary subscriber. By privatising long-distance calls, the Department of the Telecom Services will be deprived off the funds to provide universal service and development in the rural and backward areas.

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly opposes this measure and demands that the government reconsider this step.