Chennai, Dec 25: Asking the Centre to 'revisit' the previous UPA's 'ill-advised move' of levying spectrum charges on Police Radio Network, the Tamil Nadu government has demanded waiver of a Rs 140-crore levy by the Union Ministry for Communications and Information Technology.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa said that Tamil Nadu had raised the issue of enhanced spectrum charges being levied on the police department with the Centre as early as in 2005.
Despite the request for waivers and the issue of outstanding dues could be resolved, the spectrum charges were revised and increased almost threefold with effect from April 1, 2012, she said.
The Wireless Planning and Co-ordination Wing (WPC) of the Department of Telecommunications, which allots the spectrum, had informed the state in August 2014 that spectrum charges payable for frequencies allotted to Tamil Nadu Police amounted to Rs 140.83 crores, inclusive of late fee, she said.
The state Home Department had again taken up the issue of waiver with the Union Home Ministry in September last year, she said in the letter dated December 24.
"In a situation where financial constraints stand in the way of the efforts of state governments to further modernise and upgrade the police force and (where) central assistance through the scheme for modernisation of the police force has been substantially reduced, any financial burden on the use of modern technology in policing is difficult for state governments to meet," she said.
The CM said that policing was an essential sovereign function of the state and "charging such exorbitant amounts" for the use of radio frequency for a public purpose "is completely unjustified and unwarranted."
"The Police Radio Network is also used extensively in cases of natural calamities and for the maintenance of public order. Such heavy spectrum charges will prevent the department from investing in essential infrastructure upgradation and modernisation," she said in the letter which was released by the state government today.
"Hence, I request that the Government of India must revisit the issue of levying spectrum charges on the Police Radio Network which is an ill-advised move of the previous UPA Government, and exempt state police departments from payment of spectrum charges," she said.