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CAS: Govt siding with broadcasters, say cable operators

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 7 (UNI) With barely three days left for implementing the court directive on the Conditional Access System(CAS) in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai, the Government today held inconclusive fourth round of talks with stakeholders to thrash out a consensus.

When asked about the result of the talks and the approaching deadline, Information and Broadcasting Secretary SK Arora refused to divulge anything beyond that ''We cannot say anything at this stage. We will take appropriate action at an appropriate time.'' However, Ministry sources have indicated that the Government would seek more time from the court as it would not be possible to implement CAS with so many contentious issues to be resolved.

Meanwhile, the cable operators have accused the government of siding with the broadcasters and not being interested in introducing CAS at all. They expressed the fear that the I&B Ministry was in collusion with them evolving a formula that might be loaded against them.

President of the Cable Operators Federation of India(COFI) Roop Sharma and a Member Vicky Choudhary said the meetings were not being attended by foreign broadcasters and the attitude of the Ministry officials was apathetic to the interest of consumers.

''We have a feeling that the Ministry was taking care of the interest of broadcasters leaving the 15 lakh people employed in the cable industry in the lurch. It is just buying time to let the DTH penetrate'' they said.

The Delhi High Court had last month directed the Government to implement the system within four weeks.The deadline ends on April 10.

The Court had passed the judgement on a petition filed by Hathway Cable Datacom Private Limited and others. The petitioners sought a direction to the Government to implement CAS or pay damages to them, as they had invested several crores of rupees to build infrastructure to implement the system.

Viewers will have to buy a Set-Top-Box, which costs around Rs.

6,000 to make use of the facility. They will have the option of viewing channels of their choice and paying for those only.


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