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Govt slams MSOs for CAS chaos
September 23, 2003 21:02 IST
Worried about the chaos over conditional access system, multi-system operators met Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, on Tuesday, with a plea to implement the new cable TV regime by November 1 in the four metros, but returned empty-handed.
In the blame-game on the controversial CAS, the MSOs were on the receiving end as Prasad upbraided them for not arriving at incentive packages and final rates to make the new regime "consumer-friendly".
Representatives of Siti Cable, Hathway, Datacom and RPG met Prasad and gave him a memorandum asking the government not to delay CAS in the four metros beyond November 1, adding otherwise it would make them and the industry "bankrupt" as they have invested up to Rs 800 crore (Rs 8 billion).
However, the minister is understood to have done some plain speaking and pointed out to them bluntly that it was for the MSOs to put in place agreements with broadcasters on rates of pay channels and incentive packages and reach out to the people with them, sources said.
Prasad also told them that it was not the government's job to iron out differences between squabbling MSOs or broadcasters like Zee and Star, the sources said.
The memorandum said uncertainty on CAS would cause "irreparable damage" to the industry, consumers and the government.Sources said the minister did not give any assurance on the date of implementation but told them he had written to the four chief ministers asking them to set up state level committees on the issue.
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