Public sector telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd has denied reports that it is considering laying off employees or reducing the retirement age of employees.

“Reduction of retirement age or laying off employees is not at all being considered,” said BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava tweeted on Tuesday. “BSNL denies any such media appearances in this regard.”

Shrivastava, however, said the Department of Telecommunications is devising a turnaround of the telecom company, including allotment of 4G spectrum and offering Voluntary Retirement Service to “willing staff”.

A report published in Deccan Herald on April 2 said the board of BSNL has accepted a proposal to lay off close to 54,000 employees and was said to be waiting for the Lok Sabha elections to conclude before taking a final call. “Announcing the VRS package or job cuts and shutting down businesses of the telecom firm would have huge implications on employees and ongoing elections,” an unidentified official in the Department of Telecommunications said. “DoT decided to wait and watch.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Telecommunications has sought the Election Commission’s approval to draft a Cabinet note recommending Voluntary Retirement Scheme for employees of Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited and BSNL above 50 years of age, according to PTI.

“The Department is going to immediately approach Election Commission for its nod to approach the Cabinet,” an unidentified government official told the news agency.

BSNL and MTNL have 1.76 lakh and 22,000 employees across India. It is estimated that 16,000 MTNL employees and 50% of BSNL staff will retire in the next five or six years. The Voluntary Retirement Scheme for BSNL and MTNL could have a revenue impact on the ministry of Rs 6,365 crore and Rs 2,120 crore respectively.

In March, the company had failed to pay its nearly 1.76 lakh employees salaries for the month of February. The company had managed to disburse salaries only after March 15.