The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Telecom gear makers send SOS

Calcutta, Jan. 6: The telecom sector has been touted as the most happening sector in 2002. However, telecom equipment manufacturers have a different story to tell.

Local manufacturers are having a tough time as orders from the government-controlled Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) and Mahanagar Telecom Nigam (MTNL) have dropped by one-sixth while private players are relying on imported products.

“Orders from BSNL and MTNL have dropped from 600 lakh kilometre in 2001-02 to 100 lakh kilometre in 2002-03,” says N. K. Goyal, president of Telecom Equipment Manufacturers Association (Tema).

“Similarly, compared to the 45 lakh kilometre orders from telephone exchanges last year, there has been no order this year. The situation is not expected to change in the next financial year,” he said.

West Bengal has been badly hit as there were very few players in the segment and even those are facing tough times. Tema will meet the state government next month to discuss bailout measures for the sector.

“We suggest that the government makes it mandatory for all telecom service providers in the state to procure a part of their requirement locally. Also, incentives and a favourable duty structure is necessary for the industry,” adds Goyal.

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