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Telecom operators worry as Dhaka plans tough law
DHAKA, JUN 13 (IANS):
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Published on 14 Jun. 2010 12:54 AM IST
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Investors and telecom service operators in Bangladesh are worried at the government’s move to bring in a stringent law that has provision of arrest without warrant, no scope for appeal and a heavy fine, to punish wrongdoers.
The government has moved to amend the telecommunication law to punish telecom operators without giving them scope for challenging the regulator’s decision. The Bangladesh Telecommunication (Amendment) Act 2010, already approved by the cabinet, will be placed in parliament to have a stringent legal framework for telecom operators.
The bill proposes unilateral changes in clauses in an operator’s licence by the regulator and arrest of telecom stakeholders without any warrant, The Daily Star said Sunday. It also has the provision of slapping a fine of Taka three billion ($43.2 million) as punishment. It also has a few clauses outlining the way to bring VoIP (voice over internet protocol) business under a legal framework.
If the bill gets through, telecom operators will not have a chance to appeal against the regulator’s decision, the newspaper said quoting unnamed legal experts. All offences would be considered cognisable and the regulator or police could file a case even on suspicion, and arrest any operator official without a warrant.
Telecommunication penetration is only 34 percent in Bangladesh. More than 56 million people now use mobile service while about 1 million people have access to the internet. Among the recent entrants in Bangladesh’s telecom field is India’s Bharti Airtel, that acquired stake in Warid Telecom and will be investing in telecom infrastructure.

 
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