More time sought from SC for auction of spectrum (Lead)

August 9th, 2012 - 11:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 9 (IANS) The central government Thursday moved the Supreme Court for “further and final extension of time” for the auction and allocation of 122 2G licenses and spectrum that were cancelled by the apex court by its order of Feb 2, 2012.

The application by the government has said that it needed time till Nov 12, 2012, to commence the auction and another 40 days to complete auction and allocate licenses and spectrum.

The government said it needed further extension of time for the auction of 2G licenses in “public interest” to ensure that the “auction yielded maximum revenue to the government of India. It would, therefore, be in the interest of justice to grant the extension needed.”

The application listed eight steps that the government has already taken to ensure the “conduct and completion of the auction” in accordance with the orders of the apex court.

The steps so far complied with included Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recommendations on the auction of the cancelled licences and the study of the same by an internal committee of the department of telecommunications (DoT) which submitted its report April 30.

The government also said that the Telecom Commission had made recommendations to the government April 30 after considering the report of the internal committee and the recommendations of the TRAI.

The application, seeking extension of time for ensuring the efficient conduct of the auction of spectrum, said that the government after the auction bids had issued letter of intent to Times Internet Limited Aug 6.

The earlier extension of three months given by the apex court is due to expire Aug 31.

The apex court by its Feb 2 order had cancelled all the 122 licenses that were granted by former telecom minister A. Raja on and after Jan 10, 2008.

The court while cancelling the 2G licences had given the government four months’ time till June 2 to complete the process of auctioning the cancelled licences. This was also the date when the licences that were cancelled were to be terminated.

The court gave the extension of three months till Aug 31 on the plea of the central government seeking 400 days’ time till March 2013 for conducting the auction of the cancelled licences.

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