As a massive earthquake rocked Nepal, state-run BSNL and MTNL decided to charge local rates for calls made to the Nepal for the next three days while Airtel announced free calls to Nepal on its network over the next 48 hours. The move from Airtel came within couple of hours after public sector firm BSNL announced it will charge all calls made from its network to Nepal as per local rates for the next three days. The normal charge for a call to Nepal from BSNL network costs a consumer Rs 7-10 per minute but now BSNL customers would be billed for calls made to Nepal as per the local call rates they had opted for themselves.
Another public sector firm MTNL, which operates in Delhi and Mumbai, also announced a similar plan. “We have decided to make all calls local for next three days starting this midnight which is April 26 onward,” MTNL Director for Human Resource and Technical Sunil Kumar said. “All calls that will be made from BSNL network will be charged as per local call rates for next three days,” said BSNL CMD Anupam Shrivastava. “People have opted for different kind of plans. Those who have opted for per second billing plan will be charged as per their plan and those who have opted for per minute calling will be charged on per minute basis. So, now they can make calls to Nepal for about one paisa per second or Re1/minute,” Shrivastava said. A decision to cut call rates was taken following a meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary and with approval of Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The move is aimed at enabling Indians to connect with their near and dear ones in Nepal.