Monday, October 3, 2022

DoT asks OIL to pay up dues totalling double its net worth

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New Delhi: The DoT (Department of Telecommunications) has levied past statutory dues on Oil India Limited (OIL) that amount to double the net worth of the state-run company. The DoT has asked OIL to pay Rs 48,000 crore in principal dues together with interest and penalty for using optic fibre network for internal communication. OIL, which is India’s second largest state-owned oil exploration and production company, has said that it will challenge the order in Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). “We have received a demand notice for paying payments by January 23. We plan to challenge it in TDSAT,” Oil India Chairman and Managing Director Sushil Chandra Mishra said. He added that OIL’s contract with DoT provides for any dispute to be referred to TDSAT and so the company will be approaching the tribunal.

DoT seeking non-telecom dues from GAIL, OIL

A ruling by the Supreme Court of India had said that non-telecom revenues should be included for considering payments of government dues. Thereafter, DoT had handed over bills first to GAIL and PowerGrid and then to OIL. From GAIL, DoT has sought Rs 1.72 lakh crore and from PowerGrid, Rs 22,168 crore.

Sources say PSUs already pay a number of levies to govt

According to sources, state-run oil companies already pay a number of levies, including excise duty, oil development cess, profit petroleum and other bills to the government on the oil and gas produced. They don’t trade bandwidth to outside parties to earn any revenue either. The optic fibre is only for internal communication purposes such as monitoring wells and production control, they added.

The backdrop

After the October 24 verdict given by the Supreme Court, non-telecom revenues earned by firms using spectrum or airwaves allocated by the government should also be considered for calculating non-telecom revenues. The DoT, therefore, totalled all the revenues earned by a company in the last 15 years and raised a demand.

(PSU Watch– India's Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Telegram. Join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram and stay updated)

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