Cable TV

Multiple unregistered cable operators: A case of ignorance or mutual offence?

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MUMBAI: More than 50 per cent of cable operators in the Pune district are found to be operating without the necessary registration. A special drive conducted by the Pune district entertainment department discovered that 500 out of the 960 cable operators in Pune do not possess postal registration, which is mandatory as per norms set by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).

 

“It has come to light that more than half of the existing cable operators are operating without following the TRAI guidelines. The operators were given two months to register themselves with the head post-office. But after regular inspection, it was found that the operators continued to evade registering with the post offices and notices have been issued to these operators. The issue has been pending for the past two years,” an official was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.

 

Tax evasion can be one of the biggest reason behind this irregularity in registration. “These cable operators extract tax from people and do not deposit the same to the department. With the TRAI rules, we are getting to know about the evasions and the entertainment department has been asked to meet the target and get all the registrations,” added the official.

However, when contacted by Indiantelevision.com, a senior official in the cable fraternity was loathe to accept the quoted number of operators, who were operating without the necessary registration. “What we came to know so far is that the operators of few fringe areas, which merely has a subscriber base of 25 – 50 may not have registered. It’s impossible that the number is so high. Moreover, what we are looking to find out is if those operators were charged entertainment tax. Our sources tell us that these operators have been paying entertainment tax. If that is true, then a pertinent question to ask the authorities is how taxes were charged to illegal operators.”    

 

For city areas the tax per consumer is Rs 24 while the rural areas pay Rs 15.

According to TRAI guidelines, it is mandatory for cable operators providing services via digital addressable systems (DAS) to register with the head post office before offering services. Cable operators are also required to enter into inter-connection agreements with multi-system operators (MSOs) whose signal they carry.

While the issue has come to light in Pune as of now, it is a matter of major concern as to how many other cities and districts have a similar problem. Given the vast length and breadth of the country, the task at hand is onerous to say the least.

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