After the other telecom companies, namely, Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have reached out to the Supreme Court to seek relief from the AGR dues by filing review petition for the AGR order passed on October 24, another company has made a similar move. However, this is not a telecom operator that we are talking about. But, in this case, it is the PSU, RailTel which has reached out to the Supreme Court and asked it to reconsider the order which it passed on October 24. As per a new ET report on the matter, RailTel has reached out to the Supreme Court saying that the order that it passed on October 24 regarding the definition of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) only pertains to access service providers. These access service providers include telecom companies like Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel and do not include all license holders for internet services and National Long Distance (NLD) providers.
RailTel Reaches Out to Supreme Court
RailTel in its petition remarked, “It is submitted that the applicant is an internet service provider and national long-distance service provider where the definition of adjusted gross revenue (AGR) is different and does not include the words 'any other miscellaneous revenue' which is otherwise defined in clause 19 of the license agreement of access service.” The PSU said that the internet service provider (ISPs) and the other non-telecom companies have been clubbed with the access service providers after the October 24 order on AGR. Adding onto its words, RailTel said that the company should be brought out of the purview of the judgement as it does not hold telecom license. The company that is associated with the Indian Railways only holds ISP and NLD licenses.
Non-Telecom Companies Facing Dues Worth Rs 3 Lakh Crore
RailTel also remarked that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has asked for Rs 290 crores in the name of AGR dues from the company. On the other hand, in its response to the department, RailTel has presented to the DoT that the judgement of the Supreme Court will not be applicable in the case of RailTel. While the DoT has put a pressure of Rs 1.4 lakh crore in dues in the case of the telecom companies, the total dues for the non-telecom companies is exceeding Rs 3 lakh crore which the DoT has demanded from companies like Gail India, Power Grid Corp of India Ltd, (PGCIL) and Oil India. RailTel has also said that while other companies might be on the task of battling it out with DoT, for itself the relief is of utmost importance because it has plans of going public.
No Relief for Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel
It is worth noting that on the telecom front, Vodafone Idea has been worst hit with the AGR dues which go as high as Rs 53,000 crore for the ailing telecom company. In the case of Bharti Airtel, these dues are as high as Rs 35,500 crore. Both of these companies have to pay up the dues in January 24. Also, the telecom operators have filed review petitions separately in the Supreme Court asking the court to reconsider the AGR order of October 24. Both of these companies have also appealed to the government for some kind of relief. However, until now, no relief apart from the two-year payment moratorium for the Rs 42,000 crore payment has been received by the two companies.