Cable TV

Double taxation: Karnataka MSOs call off strike following government assurance

BANGALORE: Cable signals are back in Karnataka as the state's Multi System Operators (MSO) have called off their indefinite strike. This follows an assurance from the state government that it would consider the MSOs' demand on the matter of entertainment tax.

The strike had been called to protest what the MSOs had described as the "arbitrary demand of double taxation by the government".

MSOs across the state, on 1 October evening, stopped signals protesting the government's decision to impose a "double taxation." Now the strike is withdrawn after the government has expressed its willingness to continue with the single point taxation system.

Karnataka finance minister P G R Sindhia told indiantelevision.com that the government might reach an appropriate decision on this regard within a month or two.

"The government is of the opinion that only single point taxation should be there either on the MSOs or on the cable operators. In the absence of any changes in the Act, we are actually entitled to collect this amount. However, we are willing to consider the MSOs' demand. We have told them that we might come to a decision within a month or two," said Sindhia.

In response, the MSOs have said they appreciated the government's promise to remove the "double taxation" and the assurance that no harassment will be initiated by the Commercial Taxation Department (CTD). "All MSOs have agreed to switch on their headends with immediate effect," said Siti Cable regional director P Kailasam.

According to government estimates, the MSOs and cable operators in Karnataka owe it anywhere between Rs 90 million to Rs 150 million in entertainment tax.

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