TRAI asks DoT to withdraw Rs 15,000 levy

By : |June 24, 1999 0

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has directed the department of
telecommunications to keep its order charging levy of Rs 15,000 prior to May 1, 1999, in
abeyance till the matter is resolved. The authority, under a complaint from the Internet
Service Providers Association of India (ISPAI), has sought clarification from DoT about
its reasons for altering the charge only from May 1, 1999 onwards and not for the period
prior to that. DoT earlier had asked e-mail and intenet service providers to pay a levy of
Rs 15,000 per annum per PSTN access line connected on their networks. Later, under
industry pressure, the department though substituted this levy by a rental charge as part
of rationalization, implemented it from May 1, 1999 and did not cover period prior to it.
This resulted in huge pending dues for the e-mail operators who had been operating for
last four to five years. In some cases, it amounts as much as Rs 10 crore. And DoT
threatened that if not paid, it will disconnect all its connections besides stop allotting
new connections. This lead to panic among the operators who forced to take refuge in TRAI
to resolve the issue. TRAI has fixed July 5th as the date for next hearing.

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