Trai chief dismisses CPI-Ms allegation

New Delhi, July 31 | Updated: Aug 1 2005, 06:30am hrs
Asserting that he had not favoured any telecom operator, chairman of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), Pradip Baijal said as a bureaucrat he would not like to join issue with any political party, including CPI-M, which had demanded his removal for acting in connivance with private operators.

What can I say as a bureaucrat on comments by members of Parliament, he said on Saturday at a talk organised by Search about the charges made by MPs that he favoured private operators in avoiding payment of the access deficit charges (ADC) to Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL).

I have appeared twice before the Parliamentary committee on it and I have been congratulated by them for the performance of the telecom sector. One of these committees was headed by now Lok Sabha speaker Somnath Chatterjee. I think this (the demands for his removal) could be due to a lack of communication, Baijal added.

He said charges were also hurled against him when mobile services of Reliance and Tata teleservices, who were misusing their limited mobility license for unlimited mobility, were regularised in 2003.

When the mobile services of Reliance and Tata Teleservices were regularised, we took entry fee from them and imposed a heavy fine on them. We played a big gamble and it paid-off. After this, the growth in mobile subscriber base multiplied, Baijal said.

When asked whether the charges against him would impact the functioning of the regulator, he replied in the negative. But when asked if they would affect the growth of telecom services in the country, he said, It is for you to judge.