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Telcos challenge penalty on subscriber re-verification in NE

Last Updated: Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 15:41

New Delhi: Telecom operators have approached sectoral tribunal TDSAT requesting stay on the penalty imposed by the government for not completing its directive to reverify existing prepaid connections in Assam and North East.
The operators have challenged the penalty imposed by the DoT's Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cell and requested that it be set aside.
The operators - Dishnet Wireless, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular - have also questioned the circular issued by DoT to reverify their existing prepaid connections.
The Cellular Operators Association of India has already approached the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) last week on this issue.
On January 13, TDSAT asked the operators to file their individual petitions along with details.
Operators have termed the circular issued by government for the re-verification of their existing subscriber "without any application of mind" and "in a totally casual manner".
According to them, DoT has simply extended the guidelines of J&K Service Area to Assam and North East Service Areas.
COAI has said that as per the circular, certificates issued by Village Panchayat Head or its equivalent authority and caste and domicile certificates with photograph issued by state governments were not included in the list.
Moreover, Voters Identity Cards issued before 2008 were also kept outside the list.
Issuing a circular, last year, the Department of Telecom had directed all the telecom operators from the NE region to re-verify existing pre-paid connections.
This was done due to apprehensions raised by the security establishment over militants using phones for subversive activities with pre-paid connections, which are available easily.
The telecom companies fear that it may result into loss of a huge chunk of their 20 million-odd customer base in the northeastern region.
"It is submitted that while extending such guidelines DoT failed to notice that these guidelines had been issued keeping the peculiar conditions applicable only to J&K in mind. They could not therefore, without proper modification, be applied in case of Assam and North East Service Areas," said COAI.


First Published: Sunday, January 22, 2012 - 15:41
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