Shiv Sena joins extend digitisation deadline chorus

MUMBAI: After Chennai and Kolkata, the government is facing political opposition in Mumbai with Shiv Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray warning the centre that any move to switch-off TV signals to analogue cable homes post the digitisation deadline will be fiercely opposed.

Taking a dig at Congress-led UPA government for failing to control inflation, Thackeray said that the government has further burdened the common man by making it compulsory to purchase set-top boxes, which costs anywhere between Rs 1000 to Rs 1200.

Thackeray also warned the government that the deadline is close to the festive season and any efforts to switch off signals to analogue homes would result in protest from common man.

"With the Diwali festival round the corner, many poor families are unable to afford it (STB) in these times of high inflation. Where will they get this money from suddenly? We shall not allow this type of compulsion on the people to install an STB," Thackeray said in a statement in party mouthpiece Saamna.

Echoing Thackeray‘s sentiment, Shiv Sena leader and Cable Operators Association president Anil Parab said that the Information & Broadcasting ministry must extend the deadline by at least two months till December as 30 per cent homes are still to be seeded with STBs. This is contrary to government‘s claim that 100 per cent digitisation has been achieved.
"We did a review and found out that only 70 per cent of the homes have been digitised. Therefore we have requested the government to extend the deadline. Otherwise it will lead to law and order problem," Parab said.

The 30 per cent homes that are yet to be seeded mostly fall in slum areas, he added.

The deadline for the first phase of digitisation covering the four metro cities of Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata is 31 October. As per Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2011, all television homes will have to compulsorily switch to digital cable in a phased manner.

Earlier, the government had faced opposition from Mamata Bannerjee-led Trinamool Congress in Kolkata while the Tamil Nadu government owned Arasu Corporation is also wanting extension of deadline in Chennai.

The cable operators association from both the Kolkata and Chennai have also urged the government to extend the digitisation deadline in order to allow cable operators to install STBs in all the consumer homes.

Also read:

IMCL sets foot in Kolkata, acquires two cable networks

Chennai cable ops say Govt?s digital STB figures faulty

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