MP’s MTNL connection has never been disconnected for non-payment of dues
On September 19, 1983 the then minister of state for communications, VN Gadgil, had issued a letter to MTNL that “The telephone connection of a Member of Parliament should not be discontinued for any reason whatsoever until the case is brought to my notice.” The directions issued vide the aforesaid letter have not been withdrawn till date and the same continue to exist.
The impact of these instructions is visible from the unpaid telephone bills of the member of parliaments which have come to notice following an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) to MTNL. The reply shows that between January 1980, and May, 2014 telephone bills worth Rs. 6.6 crore have not been paid by more than 300 ex-MPs to MTNL. This period of 34 years corresponds to coming into existence of the 7th Lok Sabha to the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha.
Every MP is entitled to 1.5 lakh free phone calls each year and the pending bills are for those calls which are beyond this free quota of calls. With competition brewing up in the telephone sector, the MTNL officials are in a fix about the applications of the 315 new MPs of the 16th Lok Sabha seeking new telephone connections. Their persuaive efforts to get the bills paid have not been successful and it seems that the PSU can hardly do anything about it.