BJP slams government over pricing spectrum at 14,000 crore

Published: 04th August 2012 08:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 04th August 2012 08:36 PM   |  A+A-


BJP today slammed the government for pricing telecom spectrum at Rs 14,000 Crore which is 22 per cent lower than the TRAI recommendations and sought to know what prompted the Union Cabinet to take this decision.

"TRAI had recommended that even a hike of five paise per minute would help the service provider cover-up the so called legacy losses... Why did the Cabinet then decide on Rs 14,000 Crore price for the spectrum? What was the basis of the reduction to Rs 14,000 Cr when TRAI had recommended the price of Rs 18,000 Cr," BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said.

He alleged that not even once has the government provided any justification for deciding this price which is 22 per cent lower than what was recommended by TRAI.

"What were the considered reasons in the Cabinet? Has the Cabinet held a kangaroo sitting to reduce the price? BJP feels this is again a blatant attempt by the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to reduce the price," Rudy said.

The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, yesterday agreed to price 5 MHz of airwaves in the 1,800 Mhz band at the lower end of the Rs 14,000 crore to Rs 15,000 crore reserve price band suggested by a ministers' group.

Rudy said this new pricing, though low, proves Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal's earlier contention that there was "zero loss" in 2G spectrum allocation was wrong. "If it was zero loss than how come the government has decided on a price of Rs 14,000 crore," he said.

This price is seven times higher than the price companies had paid during 2G spectrum allocation in 2008 when A Raja was the Telecom minister. .

Describing the earlier 2G spectrum allocation as a loot, Rudy said even now TRAI recommendations have not been accepted though it is a constitutional body.

The BJP MP claimed that as per the amendment to Section 11 of the TRAI Act, if the Cabinet does not accept its recommendation then the new proposal has to be sent to TRAI for a nod.

Rudy said BJP stand on the 2G spectrum allocation was vindicated earlier when the Supreme Court had cancelled 122 licenses.

"Even the CBI has said the loss in spectrum allocation was Rs 30,000 Crore," he said.

He maintained that the speculative loss theory of the government has been "thrown out" and reiterated the BJP stand that even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh cannot free himself of the charge, along with then Finance Minister P Chidambaram, that the country had suffered a loss. He added that Raja had to go to jail for this.


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