TDSAT orders BSNL not to disconnect Tata Tele from its network

The order came over a plea filed by TTSL challenging a disconnection notice issued by BSNL last month, over alleged wrong routing of international calls on the PSU's network without having Caller Line Identification for the AP circle

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed state-owned telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) not to take any coercive action against service provider Tata Tele Services (TTSL) by disconnecting it from its network, reports PTI.

The tribunal's order came over a petition filed by Tata Tele Services challenging a disconnection notice issued by BSNL on 2 June, 2010, over alleged wrong routing of international calls on the PSU's network without having Caller Line Identification (CLI) for the Andhra Pradesh circle.

Passing an interim order, a TDSAT bench headed by its chairman, Justice S B Sinha, directed PSU firm BSNL not to disconnect the Point of Interconnection (PoI) of Tata Tele Services.

"Indisputably, if disconnection of the petitioner's POIs is effected, the petitioner (Tata) will suffer an irreparable injury. On the other hand, the respondent (BSNL) can be compensated on monetary terms even if the petition is to be dismissed ultimately" said TDSAT.

TDSAT further directed Tata Tele to deposit Rs30 lakh with BSNL as an interim measure.

"We are, therefore, of the opinion that interest of justice shall be sub-served if the interim orders, as has been prayed for, are issued, subject to the condition that the petitioner deposits a further sum of Rs30 lakh," said Justice Sinha.

Over BSNL's contention that routing of non-CLI calls on its network by Tata Tele was "intentional and deliberate", the tribunal said even if it was true, then as per the terms and agreement between them, the fixed line service provider was merely to deposit only 50% of the disputed bill.

Earlier, Tata Tele had approached Delhi High Court challenging bills raised by BSNL. Following this, the high court had directed it to pay Rs30 lakh to BSNL.

As per the BSNL's policy, it charges the highest slab for interconnection charges on non-CLI calls forwarded by private operators on its network.

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TRAI extends date for feedback on unsolicited calls

In view of the importance and sensitivity of the issue, the industry watchdog has decided to extend the last date for submission of written comments/counter comments by all stakeholders up to 30 July, 2010

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) today extended the last date for receiving comments from stakeholders on regulations for unsolicited calls to 30th July, reports PTI.

TRAI had released a consultation paper on 'Review of Telecom Unsolicited Commercial Communications Regulations' on 11th May to discuss the issue with all stakeholders.

"Requests have been received from stakeholders for further extension of time for sending their comments. In view of the importance and sensitivity of the issue to the public, the authority has decided to extend the last date for submission of written comments/counter comments by all stakeholders up to 30 July, 2010," TRAI said in a statement.

The last date for receiving comments has already been extended once to 18th June, from an earlier set date of 10th June.

Unsolicited commercial calls and SMS are one of the major issues of concern for telecom subscribers and have resulted in large number of complaints.

To tackle the problem of such unsolicited calls, TRAI had initiated a consultation process in 2006. The recommendations were sent to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and based on these, the National Do-Not-Call (NDNC) Registry was established in 2007.

Telephone subscribers not willing to receive commercial communications can register their number with the NDNC.

As per the regulations, every operator has to set up a mechanism for registering request of mobile subscribers for not receiving unsolicited commercial calls and update it with NDNC Register, maintained centrally by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

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Confer industry status to retail sector: Assocham

The status would entail greater focus on retail development, fiscal incentives, availability of organised financing and establishment of insurance norms

Industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) today said it has urged the government to confer industry status to the retail sector at a time when the industry ministry has thrown open a debate for allowing foreign direct investment in the sector, reports PTI.

The chamber said it has submitted a note to ministries, including finance, commerce and industry and consumer affairs, urging them to confer industry status to the retail sector, which would lead to its further development.

The advantages of the status would encompass greater focus on retail development, fiscal incentives, availability of organised financing and establishment of insurance norms, it said.

"The status will increase focus on retail development and provide fiscal incentives to it. Also, ensure availability of organised financing and establishment of insurance norms," Assocham secretary general D S Rawat said.

It said, there is also a need to bring the retail sector at par with that of other countries.

"There is a need to study the fiscal and regulatory mechanism adopted by other countries in terms of development in the retail sector," Assocham said.

It said the status would also help in increasing the organised retail sector's share in the overall retail industry.

Currently, the organised retail's share is merely 4% in the $330 billion Indian retail industry, the chamber said.

It said the government should consider treating the retail sector as a thrust area, on the lines of food processing sector, as retail has both forward and backward linkages.

Further, the chamber said, there is a need of a comprehensive legislation in order to eliminate obtainment of multiple licensing.

Currently, retailers need to obtain multiple licences and permissions ranging from basic trading licences to product specific licences and pollution clearances for setting up retail outlets.

In June, the industry ministry sought the views of various stakeholders asking whether foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector should be permitted. The ministry has sought stakeholders comments by 31st July.

At present, FDI in multi-brand retail is prohibited in India.

However, the government allows 51% FDI in single brand retailing and 100% in wholesale trade.

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