Idea, Spice face cancellation of licences in Karnataka, AP

The telecom ministry has issued a show-cause notice to Idea Cellular for the Karnataka circle and Spice for the Andhra Pradesh circle for cancellation of licences on account of a delay in network roll-out obligations

New Delhi: The telecom ministry has issued a show-cause notice to Idea Cellular for the Karnataka circle and Spice for the Andhra Pradesh circle for cancellation of licences on account of a delay in network roll-out, reports PTI.

"Yes, they have been issued (notices). Idea Cellular for Karnataka and Spice for Andhra Pradesh have been issued show-cause notices for cancellation of their license on account of delayed roll-out obligations," telecom secretary R Chandrasekhar told PTI.

In 2008, Idea bought Spice, but has not yet received approval from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to go ahead with the merger.

"The notices have been sent recently. The companies have been given 60 days to respond," he said.

Idea and Spice Telecom had procured these licences in January 2008, under the regime of former telecom minister A Raja, who has been arrested on charges of irregularities in distribution of 122 new licences along with second generation (2G) spectrum.

Earlier, the government collected approximately Rs300 crore as liquidated damages from new operators, including Idea and Spice, over their failure to roll-out their networks as per the licence agreement. After collecting the penalties, notices are now being sent for cancellation of licences.

Telecom regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had also recommended the cancellation of licences of leading mobile operators Idea Cellular and Spice in five states for their failure to roll out services within the stipulated time.

However, Aditya Birla group firm Idea had earlier said that it has not breached the licence agreement.

When contacted to seek their comment on the receipt of the cancellation notice, Idea officials said they are yet to receive any show-cause notice.

Last month, the telecom ministry had secured an ex-parte stay from the Delhi High Court on the merger between Idea and Spice, a decision opposed by the Aditya Birla group, which charged that the DoT was trying to cover up its "inefficiencies".

Idea is facing charges of violating the terms and conditions of the licence by retaining overlapping licences, but the company claims it never wanted to retain the unused spectrum and had offered to surrender the overlapped licences.

As of 31 March 2011, Idea Cellular has 8,95,03,318 mobile subscribers.

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Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance is registered by IRDA to carry on life insurance business

Edelweiss Tokio Life plans to commence sales later this year

Edelweiss Tokio Life Insurance, a joint venture between the Edelweiss Group, India’s leading diversified financial services conglomerate and Tokio Marine, one of the world’s leading Insurance group headquartered in Japan; has been registered by Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (IRDA) to carry on the business as a life insurer.

Speaking at the occasion Rashesh Shah, chairman and CEO, Edelweiss Group said, “At 4.5%, life insurance penetration in India continues to be low. We see an opportunity there. With a global leader as a partner and a country wide distribution network Edelweiss Tokio Life is well placed to benefit from this opportunity.”

Hiroshi Endo, managing director, Tokio Marine Holdings said, “Tokio Marine Group has been looking at India as an exciting opportunity, where we have Edelweiss as our committed partner. And now that we have been granted license, we will launch customer—focused approach and hope to be successful.”

Deepak Mittal, Director, Edelweiss Tokio Life said, “Edelweiss Tokio Life endeavors to imbibe a ‘customer first’ approach and focus on need-based selling. Our personal financial advisors will be well trained and offer customers products as per their life stage requirements.” he added.

Edelweiss Tokio Life plans to commence sales later this year, depending on product approvals.

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ISMA revises 2010-11 sugar output estimate to 242 lakh tonnes

The latest ISMA figure is lower than the government’s estimate of sugar production in 2010-11 at 245 lakh tonnes

New Delhi: The Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA) today slashed the total sugar production estimate for the ongoing 2010-11 sugar year by 8 lakh tonnes to 242 lakh tonnes, reports PTI.

At the beginning of the current sugar year (October-September), ISMA had projected the total sugar output at 255 lakh tonnes, but the forecast was later revised downward to 250 lakh tonnes.

“Our figure for 2010-11 stands at 242 lakh tonnes,” ISMA spokesperson said, adding this is the final estimate.

The production figures for sugar were finalised at the organisation’s internal meeting in Bangalore today.

The latest ISMA figure is lower than the government’s estimate of sugar production in 2010-11 at 245 lakh tonnes.

Production in India, the world’s second biggest sugar producer and the largest consumer, is expected to rebound this year after a gap of two years. In 2009-10, production was around 190 lakh tonnes. The country’s annual demand is pegged at 220 lakh tonnes.

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