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BSNL selloff likely soon, no BSNL-MTNL merger
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The Prime Minister's IT advisor Sam Pitroda said on Friday the Government is not planning to merge BSNL and MTNL, but efforts are on to sell stake in BSNL.

"There is no move to merge BSNL and MTNL", he told reporters here today, however, adding the Government is considering selling a part of its stakes in BSNL and will move in "quickly" in that direction.

A high-level review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this week had agreed to consider a suggestion for immediate sale of 10 per cent Government equity in BSNL.

Pitroda, who is also coordinating the release of spectrum by the Defence forces for the upcoming 3G auction, is learnt to have called for an immediate disinvestment of 10 per cent Government equity in BSNL, a proposal that is expected to be considered at the top most level of the Government soon.

The review assumes importance in the wake of the deteriorating revenues of the telecom PSUs, particularly BSNL, which is also confronting a controversy over a Rs 35,000-crore expansion plan. He said there is no plan to come out with a follow-on-public offer of MTNL.

It can be recalled that the Government had earlier contemplated to merge BSNL and MTNL thinking the move would help synergise operations of both the state-owned telcos.

The DoT and boards of both companies had discussed the issue many times, but never came to a conclusion due to various issues like MTNL's listing, BSNL's huge workforce, employees' objection among others.

BSNL is 100 per cent owned by the Government while in MTNL it holds 56.25 per cent stake. BSNL operates all over the country except in Delhi and Mumbai, while MTNL operates only in these two metros.

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