There were 21 people on board including one pilot and 15 of them, including 13 Indians, were killed
Kathmandu: Thirteen Indian pilgrims were among 15 persons killed on Monday when a small plane with 21 people on board crashed in northern Nepal after hitting a hill top while attempting to land at a high-altitude airport, reports PTI.
Six others, including three Indians and two Danish nationals, miraculously survived the crash of the Dornier 9N AIG aircraft belonging to the private carrier Agni Air, nearly eight months after 10 Indians perished in an air disaster near Kathmandu.
The plane, which flew from the resort town of Pokhara on its way to Jomsom, crashed at 9.30am local time while landing at the mountain airstrip, said an official at the Rescue Coordination Committee of Tribhuvan International Airport.
The passengers had chartered the flight to take them from the central tourist hub of Pokhara to Muktinath, a famous Hindu pilgrimage in Jomsom near Tibetan border at the foot of the Thorong La Himalayan mountain pass, the official said.
He said there were possibilities of a technical fault. "Thirteen Indian nationals and two Nepalese crew member were killed in the crash," the official said, adding rescuers have so far recovered nine bodies from the wreckage.
He said three Indians including two children, a Nepalese air hostess and two Danes have been rescued alive from the crash site.
The injured were taken to a hospital in Pokhara and the three Indians who survived were out of danger, said Rescue Coordination Committee of the Tribhuvan International Airport.
The high-altitude Jomsom airport, about 200 km northwest of the capital, is a gateway to a popular tourism and trekking destination situated more than 2,600m above sea level.
TRAI said its analysis shows that mostly, the impact on tariff is less than 4 paise per minute and often much lower. This can be either absorbed by the service providers from the additional minutes that are generated or recovered through charges for different retail and wholesale service
New Delhi: Despite pressure from industry, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) stood by its recommendation of high base price for auction of spectrum saying the increase in the tariff can be absorbed by operators, but gave marginal relief in the price of frequencies being used for CDMA services, reports PTI.
In its response to Department of Telecommunications (DoT) on Spectrum auction proposals, TRAI said that its analysis shows that recommendations do not adversely impact the profitability of the wireless industry or the entry of new operators nor do they adversely affect the affordability of the consumer.
"The results indicate that mostly, the impact on tariff is less than 4 paise per minute and often much lower. This can be either absorbed by the service providers from the additional minutes that are generated or recovered through charges for different retail and wholesale service," TRAI said.
On 2nd May, the DoT had sought clarification from the TRAI on likely impact of telecom tariff if its recommendations on spectrum auction is put in place.
TRAI has recommended a base price of Rs3,622 crore per megahertz (MHz) pan-India spectrum for 1800 Mhz band (being used for GSM service), which is almost 10 times higher than the price at which 2G licences bundled with 4.4 MHz spectrum were allocated in 2008 by then Telecom Minister A Raja.
Justifying the recommended price at par with international prices, which in European countries ranges between Euro 0.4 to 0.6, TRAI said "present recommended reserve price of Rs 3622.16 per MHz for 1800 MHz band works out to only 0.25 euro per MHz per population."
The Regulator has also recommended that price of spectrum in 800 Mhz and 900 Mhz band should be double the price of 1,800 Mhz.
However, in its clarification, TRAI gave some concession to telecom operators for providing telecom services in the 800 Mhz frequency band which is currently being used for CDMA service.
The Authority would be open to the Government fixing the Reserve price of 800 MHz spectrum at 1.3 times the 1800 MHz reserve price. This is only where 5 MHz spectrum is not being made available," TRAI said.
This means a telecom operator interested in bidding for spectrum in 800 Mhz band will have to pay around Rs23,530 crore instead of around Rs36,200 crore as per earlier recommendation.
TRAI also did not differ on its stand for refarming of 900 Mhz spectrum, but reiterated need to create Spectrum Refarming fund to compensate existing users of the frequencies in these band for upgradation of their equipments.
This is one of the major concern for old GSM players, mainly Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, as cost of infrastructure increases for providing mobile services through high spectrum band compared to low frequencies.
If TRAI's refarming recommendation is approved, then old GSM telecom operators will have to use high frequencies of 1800 Mhz band for transmitting signals for mobile services compared to 900 Mhz band frequency which they use at present.
Telecom companies Vodafone and Idea Cellular have indicated that refarming will cost them Rs10,000 crore and Rs17,000 crore, respectively.
Taking high reserve price of spectrum and cost of spectrum refarming, telecom operators have said that tariff in some telecom service area can rise up to 100% over existing rates.
However, TRAI's recommendations have addressed some concerns raised by Norwegian telecom company Telenor by not forcing network roll-out obligation on companies.
"...the bidders will be bound only by the conditions stipulated in the auction tender document, mandating roll out obligations on the successful bidders, subsequently may not be legally feasible," TRAI said.
Telecom companies have pointed out that mandating roll-out obligation along with high spectrum price will make it tough for them to do business.
Roll out obligations were mandated on operators to ensure that they rolled out services in rural areas, increase connectivity across the country within a stipulated time and therefore, increase teledensity in remote areas as well.
TRAI also increased scope of more companies winning spectrum in the auction that are due before 31st August.
It has recommended that additional spectrum slot can be auctioned only if the number of registered bidders is more than four and in telecom circles where spectrum is available after reserving spectrum for refarming.
Since pilots are not ready to call off strike and join work, the national carrier cancelled 14 international flights
New Delhi: The strike by Air India pilots entered seventh day on Monday, forcing the national carrier to cancel as many as fourteen of its international flights that caused inconvenience to hundreds of passengers, reports PTI.
"As the pilots are not ready to call-off their strike and join work, we have cancelled 14 international flights from Delhi and Mumbai," an Air India official said.
The pilots, who are on strike since Tuesday, are not ready to relent from their stand until their demands are met. They have also refused to accept Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh's call to come to the dialogue table after withdrawing their strike.
The carrier had to cancel as many as 20 international flights on Sunday. Hundreds of passengers were stranded following the flight cancellations. They had alleged yesterday that they had not been given the refund by the airline against their booked tickets after the cancellation of the flights.
The crisis further worsened yesterday with airline's executive pilots coming out in support of striking pilots, asking the management to revoke the sack orders and hold immediate negotiations to end the impasse.
The striking pilots while stating that they were ready for talks showed no signs of returning to work, leaving passengers fretting with holiday schedules going haywire.