Rs. 290 cr penalty imposed on 2G licencees: Govt in SC

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 00:35

New Delhi: Government has imposed a
penalty of Rs 290 crore on 103 licencees which failed to meet
the roll out obligations for the 2-G spectrum after they
maintained that cancellation would not not in public interest,
the Supreme Court was informed on Tuesday.

It also said in an affidavit in the case relating to
2G scam that 85 ineligible entities have been issued showcause
notices for cancellation of their licences issued during the
regime of former telecom minister A Raja.
The affidavit also mentioned the defence taken by the
companies which opposed the cancellation of licences for
their failure to meet the roll out obligations.

"The defence of the licensees is that experience all
over the world shows roll out may get delayed. This may lead
to a monetary penalty but by itself cannot result in
cancellation of the licences.
"That is why the licences provide for imposition of
monetary penalty. If a licence is to be cancelled after it is
acted upon, only on account of delayed roll out, the
investment made in infrastructure etc. would be rendered
nugatory which may not be in public interest," the affidavit
said.

The demand notices levying liquidated damages for
failure to comply with the roll out obligations have been
issued to 103 out of 122 companies which were issued licences
in 2008 and Rs 206 crore as penalty has been recovered while
Rs 83.72 crore was due.

Government said it received replies of 85 ineligible
entities and the entire matter now is being examined in the
Department of Telecom.

"All the aspects of the matter are being examined by
the Department of Telecom and an appropriate decision will be
taken in accordance with law," it said in the affidavit.

The Department of Telecom which filed the affidavit
said, "where there has been a clear infraction such as delayed
roll out, penalties have already been imposed".

"These Demand Notices have been issued after
ascertaining the delay in meeting the roll out obligations and
after giving due consideration to the date of allocation of
spectrum and the average delays by the Standing Advisory
Committee on Frequency Allocation ("SACFA") clearances, if
any.

"It was a condition of the licence that for the
purposes of roll out obligation, the licensee company should
provide street level coverage in at least 90 per cent of the
geographical area of the District HQs/Town where the roll out
has been done.

"This evaluation is done by a technical team of
the Department of Telecom called Telecom Enforcement, Resource
and Monitoring (TERM) cells," the affidavit filed by the
Department of Telecom said.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 - 00:35

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