2G spectrum was given as per NDA policies: Raja

By : |August 8, 2010 0

NEW DELHI, INDIA: Dismissing the allegations of corruption in the allotment of 2G spectrum, Telecom Minister A Raja today said that the allotment of 2G spectrum in 2008 was according to the policies of the previous NDA govenment and the recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

“Since 1999, 2G spectrum was never auctioned…even in the latest report of TRAI it did not recommend auction route to maintain level playing field between two sets of operators — (pre-2008 and post-2008),” Raja told in Lok Sabha during Question Hour.

M. Thambidurai of the AIADMK had alleged that the government had lost Rs.1 lakh by distributing 2G spectrum at much cheaper prices in 2008. He said the Rs.70,000 crore collected from the auction of 3G spectrum showed this.

Raja, however, said spectrum was allocated as per the rules.

The minister told the house that 3G spectrum would be provided to all successful bidders by September 1 so that they can launch the services on a commercial basis.

                                 

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While 2G is primarily for voice services, 3G will be used for both video and data transfer services, added Raja.

Two public sector operators, Bharat Sanchar Nagar Nigam and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited, were given spectrum ahead of the auction process for the private players in August 2008 on condition that they would pay a matching amount of the highest bid in their respective areas.

MTNL, which operates in Delhi and Mumbai, has paid around Rs.6,574 crore for 3G spectrum and launched its services in both the cities. BSNL, which has paid Rs.10,186 crore, operates in almost 463 cities of the country.

In the recent times, there were allegations of irregularity in allotting wireless radio spectrum to telecommunication firms, which is said to have caused a Rs.22,000-crore loss to the public exchequer.

Following the allegations the opposition parties had even demanded Raja’s resignation.

The CBI is investigating the issue and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh is reportedly looking forward to the findings of the CBI inquiry before taking any decision on A. Raja, over the allocation of 2G spectrum. Earlier there were reports that Raja may lose the portfolio in the Cabinet reshuffle.

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