Kolkata MSOs asked not to switch off any TV channel till panchayat polls are over

NEW DELHI: The West Bengal government has directed multi-system operators to maintain status quo with regard to charges relating to digital access system (DAS) till the upcoming panchayat elections in the state, which should come to an end by 15 July.

The state municipal affairs and urban development minister Firhad Hakkim directed MSOs not to switch off any channel during this period, without consulting the cable operators.

The minister said this during a meeting yesterday evening with a delegation of the cable operators sangram committe and chief executive officer Soumen Roy Chowdhary and Surendra Agarwal of Indian Cable Net Company Ltd, a unit of Siti Cable.

Ratan Jaiswal who represents the sangram committee of the LCOs told that this follows an agitation against the MSOs for failing to set proper rates and bouquets for the consumer.

He said the MSOs were charging Rs 70 apart from service tax and other charges amounting to another Rs 20 for every set top box installed, which the LCOs feel is illegal as there is no provision by the telecom regulatory authority of India in this connection. In any case, such a charge can only be levied on the consumer.

Even though the revenue share between the LCO s and MSOs is not clear and the packages being offered to the consumers are vague with no agreements having been signed, the LCOs say that Siti Cable and Indian Cable Network Company Ltd have sought help from the police which has imposed Section 144 for restricting entry of LCOs.

While the number of digital STBs installed at present is around 90 per cent in Kolkata, less than forty per cent of agreements relating to billing etc have been signed.

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