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DMK MPs, Ravi Shankar wrangle over 2G scam

NEW DELHI: The DMK MPs sparred with Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday over the state of affairs of BSNL and the stressed telecom sector. Prasad hit back saying that he wanted to know “how much telecom (sector) has suffered because of DMK members” in a reference to DMK MPs A Raja and Dayanidhi Maran who have served as telecom ministers during the UPA regime.

The minister accused that the 2G spectrum allocation scam was responsible for the stressed state of the affairs of the telecom sector. With the DMK MPs accusing the government for mishandling the telecom sector, Prasad challenged them for debate, stating that the rampant corruption in the times of the UPA government plunged the sector in the sad state of affairs.

With the DMK MPs on their feet during the Question Hour, Speaker Om Birla proposed that the House can discuss the issue in detail if the members were interested. “You give me in writing for a discussion in the House, I would allow you,” Birla said. MP Raja during the Question Hour had remarked that the government is now contemplating bail out of the stressed telecom companies after the Supreme Court ordered for the payment of the statutory dues.

Prasad said that the matter is sub-judice and therefore he wouldn’t comment. But he added that the government is looking at the survival of the telecom sector, given that they have a base of 90 crore customer base. The government wants a “fair and transparent” sector and is committed to it, Prasad asserted. In October last year, Supreme Court ruled that telecom companies have to pay statutory dues worth around Rs 1.47 lakh crore to the government.