CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exempt State police departments from paying spectrum charges for their wireless communication networks and to direct the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to waive the Rs 140.83 crore spectrum bill slapped on Tamil Nadu.
“In a situation where financial constraints stand in the way of the State governments’ efforts to further modernise and upgrade the police forces, and the Central assistance for police modernisation has been substantially reduced, any financial burden on the use of modern technology in policing is difficult for State governments to meet,” the Chief Minister said in her letter to the Prime Minister dated December 24.
Till June 2004, the State police departments had paid a nominal licence fee of Rs 100 for each wireless communication network they operated. Since June 1, 2004, the ministry has levied spectrum charges and royalty charges from the police departments for using radio frequencies.
Jayalalithaa further said that in spite of a request to waive the spectrum charges, and even before the issue of Tamil Nadu’s outstanding dues -- Rs 73.10 crore -- could be resolved, the charges were raised almost threefold with effect from April1 2012.
The annual spectrum charge payable by Tamil Nadu now amounts to Rs 13 crore, the Chief Minister wrote, adding that Wireless Planning and Co-ordination Wing of the ministry had informed the State that its spectrum dues stood at Rs 140.83 crore on August 14, 2014.
The Wireless Planning and Co-ordination Wing continues to charge a late fee of two per cent per month for spectrum charges. Besides, the Centre has informed the State government that requests for any fresh assignments or licences, including for the importing wireless and communication equipment, won’t be considered.