New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has pulled up the telecom ministry for its failure to ensure compliance of obligations for rolling out of services by new operators despite getting scarce spectrum at a reasonable price.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology have noted that 120 new telecom licences of 2G spectrum were issued at a very reasonable price, even then the licencees have failed to meet the roll-out obligations.
"The scare resources, that is spectrum, remained idle with service providers which was clear loss to the customers, for the benefit of whom the spectrum was allocated," the committee said in a report tabled in Parliament today.
The new operators were supposed to roll out at least 10 percent of services within 52 weeks of getting licences.
The committee strongly disapproved the inaction of the Department of Telecom (DoT which made the default of more than 52 weeks a gainful position for new operators.
It also found that there was a lot of confusion with regard to the number of licencees who could not meet the roll-out obligations and to whom the show-cause notices should have been issued.
The committee said it failed to understand the inaction on the part of DoT with regard to cancellation of as many as 74 licences as recommended by the regulator TRAI for not meeting roll-out obligations
"The committee deplores the way the Department (DoT) and its various wings are functioning," the report said.
The panel said it would like to strongly recommend taking strict action against the default licencees. Besides, the details of such licencees which did not even pay the liquidation charges may also be intimated to the committee.
"The committee would like to emphasise that accountability of the officials in this regard should also be fixed. The committee may be kept informed about the action taken in this regard," it said.
On the issue of roll-out obligation of 3G services, the Parliament Committee observed that the provision of five years would result in blocking of scare resources.
The committee as such have observed that the aforesaid provision of roll-out obligation for 3G services needs to be reconsidered by the DoT.