ASC seeks concessions for DTH bank guarantee

NEW DELHI: The Subhash Chandra controlled ASC Enterprises, which has sought a license from the Indian government to operate a direct-to-home (DTH) television venture, has requested the government to make some concessions on a Rs 400 million bank guarantee that has to be furnished as per prescribed norms.

Siti Cable, the cable arm of another Chandra company, Zee Telefilms, would implement the DTH project.

"The company (ASC Enterprises) has said that the government should explore whether it can give bank guarantees renewable every two years instead of at one go," a senior information and broadcasting official said today.

Pointing out that the government is "examining the request", the official said, "The company's contention is that no Indian bank gives a guarantee for Rs 40 crore (Rs 400 million) at one go."

According to the guidelines, after a prospective licensee gets certain security clearances, frequency clearances would also have to be obtained. Subsequent to this an amount of Rs 400 million valid for the duration of the license would have to be submitted. After submission of this bank guarantee, the applicant would be required to sign a 10-year licensing agreement with the I & B ministry.

The relevant file of ASC has been cleared by I&B minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, as reported yesterday by indiantelevision.com. The letter of intent is in the process of being drafted by the ministry officials.

However, the government has asked ASC to give, among other things, an affidavit stating that it is a wholly owned Indian managed company.

The official did not comment on the status of a similar application filed by Space TV, a little known company, which is said to be manned by Star India employees and is now under the government microscope.

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