New Delhi: Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal on Thursday held a meeting with Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and assured that the company will comply with the Supreme Court’s order and pay its statutory dues before March 17. Also Read - AGR: Vodafone Idea Pays Rs 3,354 Crore, Says Principal Amount Paid
Mittal, whose company suffered the highest with a debt repayment amounting to Rs 10,000 crore, has a sought cut in taxes and levies for the sector, amid the “unprecedented” adjusted gross revenue (AGR) crisis. Also Read - DoT Tells Telcos to Submit AGR Dues Self-assessment Reports
“AGR is an unprecedented crisis for the industry, which is being dealt with by government,” Mittal said after his discussion with the telecom minister. Also Read - Telecom Department Launches '5G Hackathon' For Students, Developers With Prize Money of Rs 2.5 cr
Last week, the Supreme Court issued a whip to telecom operators to repay their AGR dues to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to avoid stringent punitive action from the government. The top court had asked leading telco Vodafone-Idea to immediately pay Rs 1,000 crore, and remaining Rs 2,500 crore by the end of the week. Meanwhile, Tata Teleservices was ordered to pay Rs 2,197 crores to DoT.
The action comes after the SC, in October last year, upheld the telecom department’s demand on network operators to pay Rs 92,000 crore in overdue levies and interest, and clear their dues in three months’ time.
Several other telcos who were liable to pay their AGR dues have already folded up their businesses. Reliance Communications and Aircel are currently going through insolvency proceedings.
As the matter stands, Vodafone owes the highest amount of dues worth Rs 53,000 crore – including Rs 24,729 crore of spectrum dues and another Rs 28,309 crore in licence fee – while Airtel has to pay Rs 35,586 crore to DoT. Similarly, Tata Tele owes DoT nearly Rs 13,800 crore, BSNL Rs 4,989 crore, and MTNL Rs 3,122 crore.