DoT has issued demand-cum-show cause notices to 6 telecom companies including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular for under-reporting revenues amounting to Rs 29,474 crore, Parliament was informed on Wednesday.
“Department of Telecom has issued demand-cum-show cause notices to six private telecom companies on the basis of C&AG Report No 4 of 2016, for four financial years ie 2006-07 to 2009-10 for a total amount of Rs 29,474 crore on account of licence fee (LF),” Telecom Minister Manoj Sinha on Wednesday said in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
This includes Rs 6,490 crore of LF, Rs 13,751 crore in interest, Rs 3,178 crore of penalty and Rs 6,055 crore for interest on penalty from the six operators, he added.
“The figure of Rs 6,490 crore is the revised LF demand which includes Rs 3,794 crore of LF demand already raised by DoT on account of Regular and Special Audit Demands,” he said.
The notice has sought Rs 8,162 crore from Bharti Airtel, Rs 7,701 crore from Reliance Group, Rs 5,718 crore from Tata Teleservices, Rs 4,695 crore from Vodafone, Rs 2,708 crore from Idea Cellular and Rs 490 crore from Aircel.
The LF is calculated as a percentage of Adjusted Gross Revenue. The definition of AGR is under litigation since 2003.
The matter is presently pending in the Supreme Court.
As per orders of the SC, DoT has been barred from taking any coercive step to recover the dues.
“One of the telecom service providers ie Reliance Communications Ltd has challenged these demands in Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) vide petition no. 71 of 2016. Matter is pending in TDSAT,” he said.
Meanwhile, with Cyclone Vardah disrupting telecommunication services, operators on Wednesday said they are working on a war footing to restore full connectivity in the storm-hit districts of Tamil Nadu.
A host of services, including electricity supply, mobile, telephone and mobile-Internet connectivity were disrupted as the cyclonic storm made landfall on Monday.
Telecom companies said they are working to restore services in the affected districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.
“Cyclone Vardah, which paralysed Chennai and nearby areas, caused disruptions to some of our services. Our ground teams are working on a war footing to restore services in the shortest possible time,” Vodafone India’s Tamil Nadu Business Head S Murali said.
Informing that services were back to normal in some areas, he claimed, “Voice and data services in some areas are being progressively restored and should be soon back to normal.”
“We are rapidly getting the network back in place,” Murali said, adding the company’s 21 outlets in Chennai are operating and offering support to the customers.
Telecom major Bharti Airtel in a communication said the cyclone impacted the company’s undersea network cables, affecting the speed of the Internet.
“We deeply regret the inconvenience. Our engineers are working to resolve the issue and services will be normalised shortly,” the company said. Telecom operator Aircel tweeted, “The company’s network services were down due to the damage caused by Cyclone Vardah. Our team is working to restore the network. It will be restored soon.”
On Tuesday, the state government had asked telecom companies to restore their “full network” at the earliest.
“All telecom companies are told to restore their full network as quickly as possible and it is being monitored,” State Disaster Management Agency had said in a tweet.