Cable TV

Arasu should be given DAS licence, Jayalalithaa tells Modi

NEW DELHI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has once again raised the issue of granting a digital addressable system licence to Arasu Cable TV Corporation, which is owned by the state government.

While the demand was raised before Prime Minister Narendra Modi when she called on him yesterday, it is expected that this matter would be referred to Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar for consideration.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has in two different consultation papers in 2008 and December 2012 given its opinion against state-owned multi-system operators or broadcasters getting licences.

Ministry sources told that licences have not been issued to any state-owned organisation for running cable TV networks as TRAI had recommended that neither state-owned, local bodies nor religious organisations should be permitted to own TV channels.

Earlier this year, then I&B Minister Manish Tewari had told Parliament that Arasu Cable TV Corporation had applied on 26 November 2007 for grant of MSO registration in CAS notified area of Chennai and had been granted provisional permission on 2 April 2008, subject to the report of TRAI on the issue of whether to allow state governments/PSUs and other entities to enter into broadcasting activities.

Thus, Arasu had been given permission on the ground that it would automatically lapse if the Ministry decides against allowing state governments/PSUs and other entities into broadcasting activities, including MSO/Cable operations.

In April last year, the Madras High Court had been informed by TRAI that Central and  State government ministries, departments, companies and undertakings should not be allowed to enter into the business of broadcasting or distribution of television channels. 

Justice S. Rajeswaran was hearing writ petitions filed by the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation seeking Digital Addressable System (DAS) licence to it for Chennai Metro and for the other parts of the State.

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