Cable TV

WB govt to work with private cos to remove cable cobwebs from Kolkata skyline

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KOLKATA: Kolkata skyline is trapped in a web of ever-burgeoning cable lines, which has given the city an ugly, cluttered and grey look. Addressing the issue, West Bengal Housing and Youth Affairs minister Arup Biswas said that the state government was ready to work together with private parties and take up the issue of cable cobwebs.

Biswas further said that cable TV operators should meet with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) authorities and think on ways to beautify the city. He also proposed that if these cables can be made to pass through underground ducts, the city would look clean and the skyline would be clear.

Additionally, Cable TV Equipments Traders & Manufacturers Association (CTMA) has requested the state government if the service tax, which is currently levied at the rate of 12.36 per cent, be reduced, as the players are overburdened with amusement tax apart from service tax.

“Cable wire is a black mark on Kolkata’s beautification drive. The operators should meet KMC officials sooner,” said Biswas, on the sidelines of Cable TV 2015 show in Kolkata.

CTMA has organised a three-day annual satellite and cable television show 2015, starting 18 February at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata.

It should be noted that not only cable operators but private telephone operators and internet service providers (ISP) also contribute to trapping the city’s skyline in the mesh of wires. CTMA executive member Suresh Sethiya said, “We aim to propose to KMC that everyone who is using the pole for wires should pay,” said Sethiya.

Sethiya further said that the KMC can give advertisements and then private players can put the cable wires in tray system and the unidentified ones by any player can be removed by the government authorities after 10 days or so.

It was the entry of cable television in the year 1990 that led to wires being strung on poles. The number of cable subscribers grew and so did wires over pavements. About six - seven years ago, ISPs and private telecom operators joined them, adding to the mess.

On the reduction of service tax proposition, CTMA secretary Kishan Kumar Binani said, “We have requested the government to re-look at the service tax. If they reduce it, it will work in the favour of all the stakeholders associated with cable TV industry.”

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