RCom told to pay for Walky service with 50% interest to BSNL

PTI New Delhi | Updated on February 19, 2011

The telecom tribunal TDSAT has directed Reliance Communications to pay in a week principal amount and 50 per cent of the interest demanded by the telecom department for access deficit charge for walky service.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal, headed by chairman Justice S. B. Sinha, in its interim order, also directed State-owned BSNL to restore RCom's Point of Inteconnect (PoI) and not to disconnect it till further order.

“We are of the opinion ... the respondent (BSNL) is restrained from disconnecting the POIs of the petitioner (RCom) which have not been disconnected and restore those which have been disconnected on the petitioner's depositing the entire principal amount and 50 per cent of the amount of interest,” the tribunal said.

Court directive

The direction of the court came over a plea of RCom which has challenged a demand note issued by BSNL on December 30, 2010, asking it to deposit Rs 68 crore, including interest, for two circles UP West and Orissa as access deficit charge.

BSNL had also threatened to disconnect its PoI if the Anil Ambani group firm failed to meet the payment demand. The bill was raised for 2005-06 period.

PoIs between two operators are a must for subscribers to make and receive calls from different networks. ADC is a levy paid by private telecom operators for funding the PSU's rural and remote operations.

BSNL had already disconnected some of RCom's PoIs for failing to pay the ADC within the required period.

Senior counsel Mr C. S. Baidyanathan, appearing for RCom, said the company disputes the charges imposed by BSNL as it had not provided call data record (CDR).

He also said that till the dispute was settled, no interest should be charged. However, the state—firm has charged a hefty amount of about Rs 41 crore as interest. Mr Baidyanathan said the agreement between BSNL and RCom didn't provide that interest shall be charged at a rate of 25,000 per month and contended that it could charge a maximum rate of 24 per cent.

RCom is ready to pay the principal amount demanded by BSNL as ADC, he said.

However, BSNL counsel Ms Pratibha Maninder Singh said it is settled principle that walky is a mobile service and RCom was not entitled to raise dispute regarding the principal amount and interest after a period of five years.

Published on February 19, 2011

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