Media Pro, Manthan in dispute over commercial terms

NEW DELHI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (Tdsat) has directed Manthan Broadband Services Pvt Ltd to immediately pay a sum of Rs. 25 million to Media Pro Enterprise India Pvt Ltd within a period of one week and also pay an amount of Rs 27.5 million every month starting from 28 February pending further directions.

Tdsat member P K Rastogi also directed that Media Pro will not give effect to its notices of 8 January and public notice issued on 11 January for disconnection of the signals of TV channels of Media Pro to the various networks of the Manthan Broadband, against which the petition had been filed by the latter.

The dispute between the two parties relates to: reconciliation of accounts, request of the petitioner (Manthan) for downgradation of subscription fee in view of the migration of several operators, implementation of DAS in Kolkata and calculating the outstanding amount after accounting for the credit period.

The notice had been issued under clause 6.1 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Digital Addressable Cable Television Systems) Regulations 2012 and clause 4.1 of the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection Regulations 2004.

Listing the matter for directions on 21 March, Tdsat said the representatives of both the parties should meet to reconcile their accounts within two weeks. Media Pro may file its reply within 10 days along with ledger statements and rejoinder can be filed by Manthan within 10 days thereafter.

Media Pro had issued notice on 4 January demanding an amount of Rs 34.71 million for Digital Addressable Systems and non-DAS areas of Kolkata and an amount of Rs 100.84 million from various non-DAS head end in East zone.

But Manthan submitted that the account maintained by the Media Pro was always faulty and being made up for the purpose of putting pressure on the petitioner to pay over and above the agreed amount and re-negotiate the agreement to give growth to the respondent.

It was also pointed out by Manthan that DAS has not been implemented in Kolkata due to law and order problems. However, Media Pro counsel contended that DAS commenced in Kolkata beginning 1 November 2012.

According to a statement handed over by the counsel for Media Pro during hearing, an amount of Rs 121.4 million is to be paid by Manthan for subscription up to February 2013. If 60 days credit period is allowed in terms of the agreement, the subscription amount up to November 2012 becomes payable by 31 January which is Rs 122 million according to the statement by Media Pro.

Manthan has paid an amount of Rs 62.7 million and Rs 35 million in December 2012 and February 2013 respectively. However, it is stated that the cheques for an amount of Rs 36.6 million were dishonoured. Tdsat noted that Manthan has to pay around Rs 60 million up to 31 January, if the statement by Media Pro is relied upon.

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