Impasse over Tamil Channels continues in Bangalore

BANGALORE: The impasse over the airing of Tamil channels continues here, the capital of the southern state of Karnataka, with seemingly no end in sight since the Kannada organizations are strongly against broadcast of the same.

MSOs had stopped telecast of Tamil channels after the verdict on sharing of Cauvery river waters that Karnataka finds unfavorable for it.

A source in the Karnataka State Cable TV Operators Association reveals that MSOs and cable operators are in favor of restarting airing Tamil Channels, but are facing stiff resistance from Kannada activists. "We fully support the people of Karnataka on this issue, as do the Tamil people based here in Karnataka. Entertainment should be kept away from issues that are politicized. Have Tamil channels on DTH been stopped? Have flights or trains between Tamil Nadu been stopped?" pleads a cable operator. "Cable is reachable and hence threatened," adds another.

The Tamil basket in Karnataka consists of around eight or nine channels, depending upon the MSO, area and the cable operator, from a possible bouquet of 11-12 channels. Of these, the Sun Group has five, Raj TV three, Jaya TV two, along with one each from DD and Vijay.

Currently 2-3 channels are being aired in Bangalore. Sun's KTV and Star's Vijay were available in some areas while some had DD's Tamil channel and other areas had Sun being aired since today, and yesterday. One Sun Tamil channel was switched on in monochrome in some areas.

Regular Tamil channel broadcast in many areas of the state are on against token resistance from activists, as per information from some districts. However, the situation in some sensitive areas such as Mandya, Mysore and the surrounding areas could not be verified at the time of filing this report.

The sharing of the Cauvery waters issue has plagued the southern states, with the major protagonists' being Karnataka and Tamil Nadu since the past few decades. The interim water sharing verdict in December 1991 saw riots break out in Bangalore and the state, with loss of life and property. Even the 5 February verdict saw protests and a 'bandh' recently.

The Karnataka government has yet to file an appeal against the 5 February verdict - they have 90 days to do so.

Meanwhile, the people of Bangalore, a significant percentage of whom are non-Kannadigas, with Tamils forming a big chunk, are impatient and want entertainment to be kept away from these kinds of issues and enjoy their TV fare.

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