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Ravi Shankar Prasad lashes out at Congress, says call drops a legacy of previous govt

Seeking to turn tables on Congress over the call drops issue, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said this problem is a legacy of the last government and he is clearing thew “mess” left by them.

Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

He also said that Congress must be asked why state-owned BSNL and MTNL turned loss-making entities during the UPA regime.

Addressing a press conference here on the call drop menace, Prasad said he is clearing the mess left by the Congress-led UPA government and during their tenure the Sanchar Bhawan – the seat of Telecom Ministry – was known for all the wrong reasons including “corruption, loot and impropriety”.

The Congress had on Tuesday demanded sacking of Telecom Minister for his “incompetence” in resolving the issue of frequent call drops experienced by consumers.

Also Read: Congress demands sacking of Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad over call drops issue

Congress General Secretary Shakeel Ahmed had said it was becoming difficult to talk on mobile “for even five seconds” and the problem was more in the networks of state-owned MTNL and BSNL.

Responding to the Congress’ charge, Prasad said, “Call drop is also a legacy of previous government. We inherited it.

The weakness in telecom sector that came due to lack of monitoring…call drop came from other factors… lack of network improvement, optimisation of network equipment.”

The Minister added that BSNL and MTNL were making profit in 2004 till the time the then NDA government was in power, but the two firms became loss-making in 10 years of the Congress rule.

“BSNL’s profit was Rs 10,183 crore in 2004 and after ten years, when we came back, BSNL was suffering a loss of Rs 8,234 crore. Who is responsible for this. Will the Congress party government give answer to this? MTNL in 2004 was in profit of Rs 938 crore and in 2014, it was suffering a loss of Rs 2,843 crore,” Prasad said.

The Minister further said there were vested interests in in the last government which were weakening the two state-run companies.

“I want to challenge the Congress government for an open debate on the poor state of BSNL and MTNL,” he added.

To a question on call drops becoming a political issue in Bihar ahead of assembly elections there and he being called as ‘Call Drop Minister’, Prasad said, “Nitish Kumar has to answer on development of Bihar.

“Why crime is increasing? Why in 9 years there has been no industry? Why no private university is there? These are the issues. Call drop situation is improving in Bihar,” he said.

Prasad said that BSNL and Telecom Department have been working to fix the problem in Bihar, just like the way it is being done for other states.