Timeframe to comply with provisions extended

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Inter-ministerial

group headed by the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, will resolve all difficulties expressed by the industry and various Ministries in implementing the provisions of the Press Note 5.

New Delhi, Sept. 29

The Government said on Friday that there was no going back on the decision to increase the FDI cap in telecom from 49 per cent to 74 per cent and has extended the time frame to comply with the provisions of the Press Note 5 by another three months.

At a meeting of the Union Cabinet, it was decided that an inter-ministerial group headed by the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, will resolve all difficulties expressed by the industry and various Ministries in implementing the provisions of the Press Note 5.

Briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting, Mr P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister. said, "We discussed the proposal from DoT which expressed difficulties in arriving at a consensus on the provisions of the Press Note 5. We have decided that Press Note 5 stays and the provisions will be looked into by an inter-ministerial group. We are confident of resolving these issues in the next three months by December 31."

DoT sources, however, said that it may seek time till February 1, 2007, due to the number of holidays that fall in between.

Gas blocks award

In another decision, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs endorsed the recommendations of the Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECOS) of awarding four Coal Bed Methane (CBM) gas blocks to RNRL-REL international consortium under the third round of bidding where 10 such blocks were on offer.

The consortium of RNRL-REL-GeoPetrol International have got two blocks in Barmer district of Rajasthan, and one each in Andhra Pradesh (Kothagudem) and Madhya Pradesh (Sohagpur).

Apart from the RNRL consortium, Arrow Energy-GAIL (India)-EIG Infrastructure Group-Tata Power consortium bagged two blocks while the consortium of Arrow Energy-GAIL-EIG got one. Coalgas Mart-Adinath Exim Resources-Deep Industries, Coal Gas-Deep Industries, and British Petroleum have got one block each.

A decision on the award of 10 blocks had become contentious after RNRL-REL, which had bid for all the 10 blocks, along with an international consortium, had raised objections over the methodology of selecting the winners. The issue was referred to an empowered committee of secretaries by the CCEA in its meeting last month.

Related Stories:
DoT wants Govt to put FDI press note on hold
Mobile players back move to revoke Press Note 5

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 30, 2006)
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