COAI
COAI

New Delhi: Industry body COAI on Friday said the government is well aware of implications of leaving the stressed telecom sector without a relief package, as it urged policymakers to use "tools" available to find appropriate solutions expeditiously.

"The industry is in urgent need of relief measures, and we urge the government to come up with appropriate solutions expeditiously and resolve the matter," Cellular Operators' Association of India (COAI) Director General Rajan Mathews said.

On Wednesday, the apex court rejected the telcos' self-assessed adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues and ordered them to pay the principal together with interest and penalties.

It stated that non-payment of dues would tantamount to contempt of court.

"The government can exercise the tools that are available and move forward on that basis," Mathews said.

Telecom companies such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and Tata are in a bind as their combined self-assessment of dues to the government are a whopping Rs 82,300 crore short of what the telecom department calculated after the Supreme Court's ruling on AGR.

The apex court has lashed out at the telcos for trying to reopen the dues they owed to the government through the self-assessment exercise.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S A Nazeer and M R Shah refused to take up the Centre's plea for allowing telecom companies to pay AGR dues in 20 years, saying the application will be taken up after two weeks.

"The timeframe of 20 years is unreasonable. The telecom companies have to clear all dues mentioned in the judgment," the bench said.

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