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Private FM players start paying up licence fee dues

02-June-2004
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Private FM players start paying up licence fee dues

Private FM radio licencees in the metros have started paying up their licence fee dues, for a period of four months, to the government. Last month, the Telecom Disputes Settlement Appellate Authority (TDSAT) had ordered private FM radio players to pay up their licence fees for four months (April 29 to August 29). So far, two, out of the 14 stations, have paid up.

FM companies, across metros, owed the government over Rs 100 crore as licence fee dues for the year. Even as the deadline for paying the annual licence fee expired on April 29, the FM firms now have time till June 10 to clear the dues for four months, as per a High Court order. Government could get around Rs 33 crore from all private FM operators, as licence fees for four months.

FM companies, including Entertainment Network India Ltd, Music Broadcast Pvt Ltd, Radio Today, Radio Mid-day, moved various courts after government refused to grant them extension of deadline for payment of annual licence fees. This was to seek an injunction, preventing government from encashing their bank guarantee.

But, the radio companies were advised to move TDSAT, as they were fighting a case where recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) were involved.

According to Trai recommendations, FM players could have the option of paying their licence fee later, once new norms were announced. Government had refused to accept the Trai recommendations.

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