Two private FM operators have obtained an ad interim stay from the Bombay High Court on invocation of their bank guarantees by the government following their failure to pay the license fee for Delhi and Chennai FM stations by the August 29 deadline.
Millenium Broadcasting and Radio Mid-Day have obtained the stay anticipating the government to encash their bank guarantees of Rs 10 crore each in case they failed to deposit the license fee in time.
Official of one of the companies hoped that the case will be referred to an arbitrator in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract. In view of the huge license fee for Delhi and Chennai, the business would have been completely unviable, the company source said.
Officials at the two companies said they had to take the decision as the government did not relent in extending the deadline till the stations were ready for operation. This has forced us to remain a single city player and operate only in Mumbai.
The ministry of information and broadcasting had already granted the FM radio players one extension when the deadline to pay the money was pushed back from December 2001 to August 2002.
Even while the FM players are unanimous that the FM radio license fee is too high, players such as Sun TV and Times of India owned Entertainment Network Ltd have already deposited the money with the government.