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Fifteen cases for extension of Phase III DAS, Rathore says digitization nearly over in most parts

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New Delhi: Parliament was told today that cases had been filed or were still pending in around fifteen cities or states seeking extension of the deadline of 31 December 2015 on the ground of shortage of set top boxes with regard to Phase III of Digitization Addressable System.

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore told the Rajya Sabha that courts in these places had either granted extension of two months or dismissed the petitions with the directions not to disconnect the cable TV network operated by the petitioners and allowed them to operate in analogue system for two to three months  

These included Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Nashik, Orissa, Chandigarh, Allahabad, Indore, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Jaipur, Karnataka, Guwahati, Kolkata and Shimla etc.

In its order, the Bombay high court had said: “Since the Andhra Pradesh high court and Sikkim high court have passed an order of status quo, in view of the observations made by the apex court in the case Kusum Ingots & Alloys Ltd. Vs. Union of India [(2004) 6 Supreme Court Cases 254] and more particularly, paragraph 22 of the said order, the question of grant of interim order does not arise in this case.”

The Hyderabad high court in the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh cases further extended the stay for 4 weeks beyond 29 February.

The minister said that the Government was defending all the cases and had also filed a transfer petition in the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Rathore said digitization has almost been completed in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Bihar, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Nagaland, Punjab, Sikkim, Uttrakhand, West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar according to information received from stakeholders.

The data provided by the multi system operators (MSOs), direct to home (DTH) and HITS operators shows that digitisation in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli is nearing completion. In other states and Union Territories it is yet to be fully achieved.

He said that public awareness campaigns were launched in print and electronic media to ensure timely completion.

Since involvement of state governments was crucial for the implementation of digitization, 13 orientation workshops for state and district level nodal officers were held at both central and regional levels. Twelve regional units were established for coordination. Toll free helpline was made operational. A management information system (MIS) was developed wherein MSOs, DTH and HITS operators were entering the details of area wise seeding of STBs at least once a week.

A total of 727 MSOs had been issued registration till 21 February and regular monitoring of progress was made.

Referring to earlier phases, he said it had been completed in Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai had been completed on 31 October 2012, except in Chennai since some court cases are pending there.

Phase-II of the cable TV digitization which covered 38 cities having the population more than 10 lakh has been completed by 31 March 2013 except in Coimbatore where some court cases are pending.

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