FM to intervene in DoT-defence spat over 3G spectrum release

FM to intervene in DoT-defence spat over 3G spectrum release

New Delhi: In the face of allegations by telecom minister A. Raja that the defence ministry was delaying auction for 3G spectrum, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday exuded confidence of resolving the issue to start the process in 2009.

The government has projected to garner up to Rs35,000 crore from sale of radiowaves, mainly 3G spectrum, to telecom operators in the current financial year.

“I am trying. Couple of days back, I came to know the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the ministries of communications and defence, there are some clarifications that are needed, that we would sort it out," Mukherjee said.

Raja had sought the finance minister’s intervention in persuading the defence ministry to release spectrum for 3G services so that the auction could take place on time.

In a letter to Mukherjee, he had held the defence ministry responsible for the slippage in the time schedule for the auction process for 3G spectrum.

Asked whether the government would be able to complete the process in 2009, Mukherjee said: “The process must start now to complete the process."

The defence ministry has decided to release only that 3G spectrum which is to be auctioned and that too in phases. In fact, the armed forces have not released spectrum already in use as envisaged in their agreement with DoT.