Saturday, September 3, 2011

Jayalalithaa kicks off Arasu cable services

Jayalalithaa kicks off Arasu cable services


CHENNAI, September 2, 2011

The Hindu (left to right) DRO Suresh Kumar, District Collector K. Baskaran, Tamil Nadu Minister for Housing and Urban Development R. Vaithilingam and MLA N. Rengasamy, view on television Chief Minister Jayalalithaa inaugurating the operation of Arasu Cable, in Thanjavur. Photo: M. Srinath

Says corporation will provide the services at nominal rates to subscribers

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday launched, through video-conferencing, services of the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation, covering all districts but Chennai.

The Chief Minister, at a brief function held at the Secretariat, explained how one family had reaped enormous profits by monopolising cable TV operations.

Referring to the assurance in the AIADMK election manifesto, she said that in fulfilment of the promise, the corporation would provide the services at nominal rates to the people.

Cable TV operators would collect Rs.70 from their customers towards monthly subscription.

This would result in the savings of Rs.70 to Rs.100 per month for the people.

An official said that 90 channels would be offered to subscribers. The plan was to include pay channels too. The government would shortly issue an order, constituting a committee for holding negotiations with the representatives of pay channels. The committee would include two non-official members – experts from the broadcasting industry. The scope for revenue through the corporation to the government was Rs.60 crore a month.

In response to the corporation's call, 34,344 local cable operators and multi-system operators, claiming a subscriber base of 1.45 crore, had applied for enrolment.

On the question of extending the services to Chennai, the official said that it would be done in a phased manner.

Asked whether there was any plan to offer DTH (direct to home) services, the official responded that after an analysis, the authorities had come to the conclusion that cable TV services were more reliable and suitable.

Another official said that through the analog mode of transmission to be used by the corporation, 95-96 channels could be viewed with clarity.

The previous AIADMK regime (2001-2006) had proposed to nationalise cable TV business by passing in the Assembly in January 2006 a legislation – Tamil Nadu Acquisition, Transfer and Taking Over of the Administration of Cable Television Network (Including Multiple Service Optical Transport System) Bill.

In April 2006, the then Governor Surjit Singh Barnala returned the Bill to the government, on the ground that the relevant powers vested with the Centre. In June 2006, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime decided to withdraw the legislation.

A year later, the DMK government decided to establish the Arasu Cable TV Corporation to provide high quality cable signals to the public at affordable cost. The entity was incorporated on October 4, 2007.

High-quality digital head ends were installed at a cost of approximately Rs.8 crore each at Thanjvur, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli and Vellore. But, in about two years, the operations of the entity became defunct.

The AIADMK government, which came to power in May, decided to revive the four digital head ends and run the existing machinery of analog head ends in 27 districts which have been offered by private operators to the government entity on rental basis, the official said.


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