Kolkata: The Centre has sent a reminder to Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal regarding payment dues to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).

BSNL  had claimed that the West Bengal government owed Rs 46 crore to the telecom operator and also urged the state to expedite the payment as it has been facing a cash crunch.

With its inability to recover dues, the cash-starved telecom company has not been able to meet its own payment obligations, BSNL (Bengal Circle) CGM Ramakant Sharma said on Monday.

"The state government owed Rs 46 crore and we have asked the state chief secretary to expedite payment of dues with the various departments," he said.

BSNL Bengal Circle, which had failed to clear the power dues of Rs 17 crore to West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company, also sought moratorium till March 2020, he said.

"We have sought a moratorium till March 2020 for payment of power dues and requested the state not to cut off the electricity connection, otherwise BSNL telecom service will collapse," Sharma said.

BSNL apprehended that under the current situation it will not be able to meet the power bill obligations in full till next March, he said.

"In the last 2-3 months, we have not been able to pay the power bills in full. Now, the dues are Rs 17 crore. We have requested the state government to give more time and dues would be cleared in the next 4 installments post March 2020," he said.

BSNL Kolkata Circle CGM Biswajit Paul said their power dues were Rs 8-10 crore to CESC and WBSEDCL.

He, however, said that the dues were "not alarming" and so far there had been "no issue" with the two power utilities.

BSNL sources said Union minister Ravishankar Prasad has written to chief ministers of several states including West Bengal, seeking their intervention for granting the moratorium to the state-owned telecom operator.

The Centre has approved a plan to revive the ailing PSU telecom operator and it has also floated a VRS scheme which received good responses from the employees.

(With PTI inputs)