Cable TV

Disappointed Assam cable ops to meet to decide on further agitation

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MUMBAI: A huge remonstration by the cable operators of Guwahati Metro seems to be in the coming. After all their measures to get a respite from the troubles that has come in their lives after the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) asked them to pay Rs 25 for the usage of poles failed, this seems to be the last rescue.

The troubled cable operators are now organising an all Assam cable operators meet on 29 December to decide the date for the next blackout. They will also decide the date for the meeting with Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

The Greater Guwahati Cable TV Operators' Association (GGCTOA) is disappointed with the outcome of the meeting with Assam Power Minister Pradyut Bordloi. On 24 December, a 10-member committee had met the minister to discuss the issue. The meeting was organised after the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) on 17 December issued a letter to the cable operators in Guwahati Metro to pay for the electric poles.

Another thing disturbing the operators is a newspaper announcement made by APDCL on 25 December. “The APDCL has issued a public notice, stating that the cable operators are not following the safety norms by laying cable wires on electric poles and also that the cable operators are not ready to pay for using the services of APDCL,” informs GGCTOA general secretary Md Iquebal Ahmed. “But, this is all false. We are abiding by the safety rules and also are ready to pay. Our demand is to reduce the fee from Rs 25 to Rs 8 - Rs 10. The issue of this notice has brought all our negotiations to zero,” he adds.

Earlier, on 23 December, the operators in order to show their discontent towards the decision of APDCL had already carried a blackout. The next blackout, the date for which is yet to be decided, will be due to the non-conclusive meeting with Bordloi and also the newspaper announcement made by APDCL.

“The minister has neither fully supported us, nor has gone against our demand. But, he has avoided any commitment,” remarks Ahmed.

Stating that APDCL is a private company, Bordloi told the cable operators that he cannot compel them to do anything. “I can only talk to them and put forth your demands to them,” is what the minister told the 10 member committee.

“This is not the response that we had expected,” says Ahmed.

While the blackout on Monday lasted for five hours, the next blackout will be for 12 hours. “We will decide the date in the meeting on 29 December. Our first attempt of blackout was successful and well supported by the consumers as well,” says Ahmed.

The cable operators may also go for a “dharna” as an option to ensure their voice is heard.

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