Tamil Nadu to nationalise cable TV

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa‘s government today announced that private cable television will be ‘nationalised‘ in the state, a move that is expected to hit the Maran family-run SCV that has a near monopoly in the state‘s cable business.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam ( AIADMK) government has also decided to revive the nearly defunct state-run Arasu Cable Corp (ACC).

The government, in its address to the new legislative assembly, said it intends to nationalise the cable TV network in the state. Cable TV services will now be provided by the Arasu corporation, set up by DMK chief M Karunanidhi when he fell out with the Marans. The nationalisation will, however, not affect the last mile operator, the state government clarified.
In an address to the newly constituted State Assembly aimed at spelling out the policies of the AIADMK government, Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said in Chennai today that the Arasu Cable TV Corporation, which had been started by the Karunanidhi Government but later wound up, would be revived. The government will revive "its activities and nationalise the private cable TV activities in the state".

Barnala said that the government had decided to ‘nationalise‘ private cable TV services without affecting the business of last mile operators in the state.

Arasu TV was started in July 2008 when M Karunanidhi family’s
relationship with the Marans had soured, but became dormant after the patch-up between the families.
This is Jayalalitha’s second attempt to nationalise the cable TV operations in the state. In January 2006, the AIADMK government had moved the Tamil Nadu Acquisition, Transfer and Taking Over of the Administration of Cable Television Network (including Multiple Service Optical Transport System) Bill, 2006. The target, then too, was seen to be SCV. But this Bill could not be approved as the Government fell.

Barnala said there had been an “overwhelming demand” from the public for revival of Arasu Cable TV Corporation and government would do so “in public interest.”

The nationalisation of cable TV business was one of the promises made by the AIADMK in the 13 April Assembly polls.

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