The Home Ministry’s delay in passing security clearance to Sun TV has led to further delay in Phase III auctions. However, sources indicate that a decision is likely by the end of this week and rumours suggest that we could see a favourable compromise between the embattled organizations
The first list of companies that will be participating in the Phase III auctions was expected to be released early last week. But there has been no announcement on it from the MIB.
A few FM operators we spoke with confirmed that the reason for the delay is that the MIB has still to send a written confirmation to Sun TV Network regarding the pending clearances from the Home Ministry. It has been learnt that the PMO has asked the Home Ministry and the MIB to sort out the issue between them.
One reason for the delay could be because, as rumours suggest, both ministries are trying to work out an amicable compromise. However, no official confirmation of this could be received. One source suggested that Sun TV had filed for an RTI and a positive decision is expected.
The radio industry has long been petitioning the government to separate the individual from the organization while taking the final decision. Sun TV stock also went up 115.97 points on the BSE by yesterday evening, further lending credence to the rumours.
Though the government has seemingly promised the radio industry that the auctions would take place with or without the involvement of RED FM and Suryan FM (the two private FM brands of Sun TV Network), it does create a tricky situation for the government.
The closure of the two brands which account for 45 stations across the country would be a severe loss to the government exchequer in terms of migration fees and other auction money; one source opined this could be as high as Rs 400 crore.