Cable TV

Jayalalitha again seeks DAS licence for state-run Arasu

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NEW DELHI: After she failed to convince him through a memorandum presented last month, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has now written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene to secure Digital Addressable System (DAS) licence for the state run TV Cable Corporation.

The application has been pending with the state for three years but has not been cleared in view of the opinion by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that political party, state and centre-run TV channels or TV distribution networks should not be permitted in the country.

The Regulator had given this opinion in 2008 and then reiterated it earlier this year after the Information and Broadcasting Ministry referred the matter to it for a second time.

 In her letter to Modi, Jayalalithaa said the previous United Progressive Alliance regime sanctioned licenses to nine Multi System Operators in Tamil Nadu but did not respond to the state's plea. She claimed that her government had revived the 'defunct' Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation (TACTV), a state run TV Cable Corporation, after coming to power in 2011 to adhere to its commitment to provide inexpensive and quality Cable TV services.

TACTV, an initiative of the previous DMK government at the height of family feud in the party's first family involving M Karunanidhi and his grandnephews, Maran brothers, was however later put in cold storage after they patched up.

TACTV was providing 100 channels for Rs 70 as against the Rs 150-250 charged by some other MSOs, she said in the letter. After the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 was amended, paving way for DAS, TACTV took steps to commence operations in the digital mode in Chennai and applied to the Ministry for DAS license.

Orders were also placed for the supply of Set Top Boxes, Conditional Access System and Subscriber Management System and installing of a headend at a cost of about Rs 50 crore, she told Modi.

Jayalalithaa in her letter has asserted that as per the provisions of the Cable TV Network (Regulations) Act, 1995, and Rules thereof, TACTV is qualified for such a licence. She also alleged that she strongly suspects that the non-issuance of license by the previous UPA government was only to facilitate particular private business interests. 

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