Cable TV

Kochi Cable TV Operators protest levy of Rs ten per connection as entertainment tax by local corporation

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New Delhi: Over 500 cable operators including some multi system operators in Kochi today demanded the scrapping of the entertainment tax on cable connections, insisting that they were providing an essential service to the consumer. Led by the Kochi Cable TV Operators Association, the protesters who marched to the office of the Kochi Municipal Corporation presented a memorandum to both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor. Describing it as a draconian move, the memorandum on behalf of two associations says that the local cable operators are already burdened with a lot of taxes, and that the consumer will refuse to reimburse the tax

An LCO told indiantelevision.com that they had demanded a complete scrapping of the Rs ten per connection levied upon them. The levy had been imposed by the corporation in its budget last month. The budget proposed to generate Rs. 2 crore by collecting entertainment tax of Rs 10 for each connection from cable TV operators.

A delegation of Cable TV Operators Association met Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister for Urban Affairs Manjalamkuzhi earlier this week with a petition seeking their intervention to persuade the local body to drop the plan.The Kerala Cable TV Federation also submitted a memorandum to the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and Opposition leader with a similar demand.

The Federation State president E. Jayadevan said since almost all households in the Kochi Corporation have a cable TV connection, the move to collect entertainment tax is just a ploy by the corporation to tax every household albeit indirectly through cable TV operators.

“The high cable TV penetration in the state is owing to the reasonable prices charged by small and medium operators. The taxation move will force us to hike the rent, thus distancing subscribers from us leaving the field wide open for direct-to-home operators, who are out of this tax net,” he said.

The Federation said the tax may even force many subscribers to turn to direct-to-home operators and affect the LCOs business. Furthermore, other local bodies would also be tempted to follow suit.

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