DoT to send notices on 35 licences facing cancellation by March

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India had asked the DoT to impose a penalty and cancel as many as 65 new licences over operators’ failure to roll out services within the stipulated timeframe. DoT secretary R Chandrashekhar today said, “The process of issuing notices to 35 licences for missing out roll-out obligations will be completed by March”

New Delhi: The telecom ministry, which has sought a legal opinion on cancellation of some telecom licences for failure to meet roll-out deadlines, today said the process of issuing notices over 35 licenses will be completed by March next year, reports PTI.

“The process of issuing notices to 35 licences for missing out roll-out obligations will be completed by March,” Department of Telecom (DoT) secretary R Chandrashekhar told reporters on the sidelines of a CII event here.

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had asked the DoT to impose a penalty and cancel as many as 65 new licences over operators’ failure to roll out services within the stipulated timeframe.

On the New Telecom Policy (NTP), Mr Chandrashekhar said the policy is expected to be unveiled in January.

Under the NTP, operators may be allowed to share airwaves and there may be more liberal merger and acquisition (M&A) norms as suggested by the draft released in October. This is expected to provide respite to the crowded Indian telecom market, which has 12-13 players operating in some circles.

The telecom ministry has been issuing notices to firms on two issues—ineligibility to get licences and missing roll-out obligations.

The DoT has already issued 15 notices to new telecom companies out of the 65 recommended by TRAI. All of these were among the 122 licences that were identified by TRAI with respect to missing roll-out obligations and ineligibility of the operator to get a licence.

The cancellations pertain to licences issued in 2008 by former telecom minister A Raja, who was sacked when his ministry was accused of selling licences and spectrum at cheaper rates, allegedly costing the government billions of dollars in revenue.

The DoT has already collected over Rs300 crore in liquidated damages from various new operators for not rolling out services within the time stipulated as per licence conditions.

According to the conditions, the operators have to cover 10% of district headquarters within a telecom circle within the first year of allotment of spectrum. After expiry of another 52 weeks, after claiming liquidated damages, the licences can be cancelled in case the services are not rolled out as per licence conditions.

A final decision on this issue will be taken by the DoT.

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Govt to stick to Rs40,000 crore disinvestment target: FM

Seven months of the ongoing fiscal are over, but the government has been only able to raise Rs1,145 crore through a stake sale in Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and there are apprehensions that it may miss the mammoth Rs40,000 crore target for 2011-12

New Delhi: The government today said it will stick to its disinvestment target of Rs40,000 crore for the 2011-12 financial year, but achieving this goal will hinge on many other factors, reports PTI.

“I am not revising it (the target) right now. We have fixed the target and we will try to achieve it, but it depends on many other situations, particularly the economic health conditions,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters here.

Seven months of the ongoing fiscal are over, but the government has been only able to raise Rs1,145 crore through a stake sale in Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and there are apprehensions that it may miss the mammoth Rs40,000 crore target for 2011-12.
Volatile stock market conditions have forced the government to delay proposed stake sales in PSUs. Global equity markets have been on a downslide on fears over the spiralling debt crisis in the Eurozone, as well as the credit crunch in the US.

“All these aspects have to be taken into account and the government will take a decision at the appropriate time,” Mr Mukherjee said.

In view of uncertain market conditions, companies like SAIL and Hindustan Copper (HCL) have deferred planned issues of fresh equity issue, though the government may still go ahead with its proposal to offload stake.

It also plans to divest its stake in ONGC, BHEL, RINL, Hindustan Aeronautics and NBCC, among other companies.

Last fiscal, the government raised Rs22,763 crore through the sale of equity in public sector enterprises.

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Kohinoor Foods Q2 profit jumps sharply to Rs212 crore

Kohinoor Foods has made a profit of Rs336.6 crore by transferring part of its business during the September 2011 quarter.

Rice exporter Kohinoor Foods (KFL) has reported a sharp jump in its net profit at Rs212.33 crore for the quarter ended 30 September 2011, on account of sale of part of its business.

The company's net profit stood at a mere Rs2.69 crore in the corresponding period last year, KFL said in a filing to the BSE. KFL has made a profit of Rs336.6 crore by transferring part of its business during the quarter. It has also invested Rs42.21 crore to acquire 15% shareholding in its joint venture company Kohinoor Speciality Foods Ltd, it said. The total sales rose to Rs278.38 crore during the concerned quarter from Rs251.99 crore in the same period last year, it added.

In the early afternoon, Kohinoor Foods was trading at around Rs39.50 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.5% down from the previous close.

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