New Delhi: The government has received part payment of about Rs 25,900 crore from telecom operators towards statutory dues and has again directed telcos to make full payments, the Parliament was informed Wednesday.
“The Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) have made some payments in compliance with the Supreme Court order dated October 24, 2019,” Minister of State for Communications Sanjay Dhotre said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. The minister said the government has ‘again’ directed the operators to make full payments in a letter dated March 4, 2020.
Dhotre informed the House that so far, Bharti Airtel has paid Rs 18,004 crore and Vodafone Idea has shelled out Rs 3,500 crore. Tata Teleservices has paid about Rs 4,197 crore while Rs 3.9 crore has been received from Reliance Communications. Reliance Jio has paid about Rs 195 crore.
To a separate question on financial distress in the telecom sector, Dhotre said the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has sought government intervention to avert an unprecedented impact on the financial health of its member companies.
Meanwhile Bharti Airtel chairman Sunil Mittal asserted Wednesday that the company has already paid its ‘full’ adjusted gross revenue dues at about Rs 13,000 crore.
The comment assumes significance as the government March 4 had asked Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Idea and other telecom companies to pay the remaining adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues as per the Supreme Court order without further delay.
Emerging from a meeting Wednesday with Telecom Secretary Anshu Prakash, the Airtel honcho said, “They said pay full….we have paid full dues. We have paid our full dues. It is in our letter … which is about Rs 13,000 crore, and Rs 5,000 crore which is extra,” Mittal said.
The total payout by Bharti Airtel, however, is half of Rs 35,586.01 crore liability estimated by the DoT.