Television

CAS not scam: RSP to Delhi CM

NEW DELHI: Conditional access system (CAS) may not have got completely derailed yet. But a day after speaking of co-operation (in a meeting between Delhi chief minister Shiela Dikshit and I&B minister RS Prasad), the Central and state governments are hurling accusations and counter-elucidations. 

Reacting to a reference made in the Delhi Assembly yesterday on CAS - on the lines of it being obsolete technology and a hint of scam - the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry today said these talks were "unwarranted".

In a related development today, Vijay K Malhotra, a BJP Member of Parliament from Delhi, has written to Prasad stating that the Centre should request the courts to defer CAS rollout in Delhi (yet again), since there is already a lot of confusion.

According to reports, Dixit had stated in the Assembly that rejected and inferior technology was being imported from a single foreign company (for the set-top boxes). She said, it was being imposed upon the people of South Delhi, on the pretext of implementation of CAS.

Dixit has also been quoted as having told the Assembly that the I&B ministry does not have any plan of action that 

has resulted in total confusion.

To top it all, the CM has been quoted in some newspapers as having said that the manner in which CAS was sought to be implemented has raised doubts about the motives behind it.

Peeved at such remarks, the I&B ministry today said that the "statements are unwarranted and do not at all represent the factual position."

Pointing out that at present, a technology for the manufacture of STBs does not exist in India - and "confirmed" by the Consumer Electronics and TV Manufacturers Association (Cetma) - the ministry in a statement said, "The Indian industry would only be able to manufacture STBs if there was a guarantee of sufficient volumes - a situation that could come about only if CAS is implemented in several cities."

The ministry has pointed out that the boxes and the CAS technology itself have been imported directly by different multi-system operators (MSOs) from manufacturers like Hundon in Korea (Siticable), Humax of Korea (Hathway), Conax of Norway (Siticable), NagraVision (Hindujas/ INCablenet) and C-Net of China (Trinity, formerly Spectranet).

"A team of highly qualified engineers from BECIL (Broadcast Engineering Consultants India Limited), a public sector undertaking, was sent to Korea to inspect the manufacturing facilities and to report on quality control measures undertaken by the manufactures," the ministry said in a statement. It added that the boxes were being manufactured according to stipulated quality standards.

Boxes imported into India were also subject to random checking of technical specifications by BECIL, and it has been confirmed that these meet the norms of the Bureau of Indian Standards specified for STB, the I&B ministry has said.

Refuting Dixit's statement that it had no plan of action ready, the ministry said , "The implementation of CAS in South Delhi is an immediate consequence of the order of the Delhi High Court, dated 4 December 2003. The chief minister was apprised of this fact when she met the I&B Minister on 22 December. The I&B ministry is fully aware of its responsibilities in the implementation of CAS, and has, in turn, requested the state governments concerned for their full co-operation."

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