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Sangram Committee to support Patna LMOs

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KOLKATA: Kolkata-based Cable Operators Sangram Committee - has extended its helping hand to last mile owners (LMOs) in Patna. The city boasts of approximately 2.5 - 3 lakh digitised cable TV homes in the DAS II area. However, the LMOs are a ‘unhappy lot’ as they neither get proper bills and receipts nor full payment from customers.

Going forward Sangram Committee, which currently is active in Kolkata, aims to spread its operation in the eastern region including Assam, Tripura and Jharkhand and plans to address the grievances of all the LMOs in the eastern region to the authorities jointly.

More than 450 LMOs in Patna met with the Sangram Committee affiliated LMOs and discussed the ground problems faced by the LMOs while operating in their respective zones.

Speaking to Indiantelevision.com, Cable Operators Sangram Committee general secretary Apurba Bhattacharya said, “We will place our demand to all the MSOs operating in Patna and request them to operate as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) guidelines. LMOs are neither getting the bills nor the receipts.”

It should be noted that Patna has around eight lakh cable TV homes, of which 2.5-3 lakh that fall under DAS II area are all digitised. While another five lakh homes are expected to be digitised in the later phases.

Multi-system operators like Siti Cable, GTPL, Patna-based Darsh and DEN Networks mostly operate here.

“Since customers are not getting the bills, they are not ready to do full payment. Apart from this we are also not getting any receipt from the MSO,” said Kumar Nilesh, a LMO affiliated to GTPL.

While Rakesh Kumar Singh, a LMO affiliated to Siti Cable said, “Most cable operators have not yet signed revenue-sharing agreements with their MSOs.”

Another LMO when asked about the popular package, said that people mostly go for packages below Rs 300 here.

Explaining further, an LMO said that if a customer has chosen a package of Rs 240, he will have to pay Rs 240+Rs 15 (amusement tax) plus an additional 12.36 per cent service tax. “But some customers are just paying Rs 240, so do we pay their service tax and amusement tax?” he questioned.

“Customers were expecting to get bills and now when they don’t get their bills, they are upset. Some are not willing to pay the monthly rental also,” he further added.

On other hand, MSOs have a different picture to present.

Darsh Digital Network director Sushil Kumar said that the MSOs can see that even after collecting payment from the consumers, LMOs are not paying the respective MSOs. “If there is a backlog of three to four months in payment, how can we survive?” Kumar avers.

“Television has become an inseparable part of our lives. So not only MSOs and LMOs but consumers too have to think in a mature way and all other stakeholders should act as per the norms, for the smooth rollout of DAS,” concluded an expert.

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