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Koshika licence scrapped

New Delhi, Oct. 1: The department of telecommunications (DoT) has terminated the licence of Koshika Telecom Ltd issued to it in December 1995 to operate cellular mobile telephone services in the UP (east) circle.

The government had evolved a package for migration of existing licensees to the revenue sharing regime in 1999, which was accepted by all licensees, including Koshika for the UP (east) circle. However, Koshika failed to abide by the conditions of the package and did not pay up the dues, which included licence fees as well as the spectrum charges.

The company initiated litigation in the Delhi High Court and took the matter up to the Supreme Court. However, it also failed to abide by the court orders to pay up the dues. “We had no choice and had to terminate the licence of Koshika, besides taking legal measures to recover the dues,” a senior DoT official said.

Nevertheless, cellular services will not be affected by the cancellation of the company’s licence in the UP (east) circle, since the second operator Aircell Digilink India Ltd is already offering mobile services in the area.

In addition, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and Escorts Telecommunications Ltd—which was granted a licence in October 2001—are also expected to start their services in due course.

The government had approved the migration of Koshika Telecom and Aircell Digilink to the new telecom policy (NTP-99) as the service provider had accepted the migration package unconditionally and Koshika was asked to make the payment within 15 days of the issuance of the letter from the DoT. The migration was subject to some terms and conditions as recommended by the Attorney General.

Koshika has to pay a licence fee Rs 210 crore for the UP east circle alone, over a four-year period. In the first and second year, Koshika had agreed to pay Rs 21 crore, while it had to pay Rs 84 crore for the third and fourth years.

Koshika had to pay a total licence fee of Rs 843 crore for four circles for which it holds a licence—UP east, UP west, Orissa and Bihar. The company was issued a letter only for migrating with regard to the UP west circle.

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