Sibal calls meeting after Trai recommends licence cancellation

Sibal calls meeting after Trai recommends licence cancellation

New Delhi: Telecom minister Kapil Sibal is understood to have convened a meeting of top officials within hours of regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recommending cancellation of over five dozen licences over roll-out obligations.

Telecom secretary R Chandrasekhar and other senior officials, particularly those dealing with policy and licensing, were also believed to be in the meeting to discuss the recommendations of the Trai.

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Sibal was given additional charge of Communications and IT Ministry earlier this week after A Raja stepped down owing to pressure following his indictment by government auditor CAG in the 2-G spectrum allocation of 2008.

CAG had questioned the propriety, procedures and the manner of decision making by the then Telecom minister Raja and his ministry officials and said favouritism in allocation of spectrum and licences had caused a loss of Rs1.76 lakh crore.

Sources also indicated that Sibal could execute a major shake-up in the ministry in the aftermath of the CAG report, as also the recommendations of Trai.

Some officials are also believed to be on the watch and their decisions are being examined.

Earlier today, Trai asked the telecom ministry to cancel a total of 62 licences awarded to five companies, including Etisalat (formerly Swan), Uninor and Videocon, over non-compliance with roll-out obligations or improper roll-out of network.

As per the conditions of licence, the licencees are required to roll-out the services in 90% service area in metros and 10% district headquarters in other service areas within 12 months of the date of award of licences.