Govt plea to SC by Aug 10 for extending auction deadline
The Government is planning to approach the Supreme Court to seek the extension of August 31 deadline for completing the auction of 2G spectrum freed from the cancellation of 122 telecom licences in February.
New Delhi: The Government is planning to approach the Supreme Court to seek the extension of August 31 deadline for completing the auction of 2G spectrum freed from the cancellation of 122 telecom licences in February.
"As per the present plan, DoT (Department of Telecom) may file a plea before Supreme Court by August 10," a senior official privy to the information told reporters.
On April 24, the apex court did not accept the government's plan for completing spectrum auction within 400 days but extended the deadline from June 2 to August 31.
The auction is important for companies like Sistema Shyam Teleservices, Uninor and Videocon whose licences were cancelled by the court but they are willing to continue their businesses by acquiring spectrum through auction.
Permits of these companies for telecom services are valid till September 7, as per the Supreme Court order.
Due to procedural delays, starting with the process of Trai's recommendations and a decision by the Empowered Group of Ministers, the government at various levels sensed that it will not be possible to complete auction by August 31.
As per the initial plan, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) was to give its recommendation on pricing of spectrum by April 2 but the regulator submitted suggestions only on April 23.
Sources said EGoM has approved a new schedule according to which government will issue the final document for auction of telecom spectrum on August 27, just four days ahead of the Supreme Court set deadling of August 31.
The government will thus have only 4 days to complete 13 processes before actual bidding for airwaves starts, assuming present deadline remains.
The steps include responding to queries of potential bidders, inviting applications and giving time to companies for submissions, finalising eligible bidders, public information sessions and mock auction.
According to sources, EGoM has recommended final base price of airwaves in range of Rs 14,000 to 15,000 crore for 5 Megahertz of spectrum to cabinet for final decision compared to Trai recommended price of over Rs 18,000 for the same.