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May 2018

MAMATA BANERJEE OFFERS SOPS TO CABLE OPS



West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met cable operators from across West Bengal at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium on Friday April 20. The meeting was organised by the CTMA. Cable operators told her that their financial condition had deteriorated after DAS was introduced.

She offered them various sops for them. These included:

i. Listing them as MSMEs, entitling them & their families to several social security schemes.

ii. Every cable operator will get health insurance cover of ₹ 5 lakh. Cable operators will also get ₹ 1500 per month and one-time payment of ₹ 2 lakh. To avail this benefit, cable operators have to pay ₹ 30 per month up to the age of 60 years.





COMMITTEE FORMED

Mamta Banerjee also set-up a committee to look into the problems of cable TV operators.

The committee includes Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, Labour Minister Malay Ghatak, Youth and Sports Minister Arup Biswas, the Commissioner of Police, and representatives of broadcasters and cable operators.

The state government will try to get a tripartite agreement to protect the interests of all, she said.


CLEAN UP CABLES

Addressing cable operators, the West Bengal Chief Minister asked them to clear the city for hanging wires. She urged all stakeholders, including Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), public works department (PWD) and private utility CESC whose posts are used to string up the cables to chalk out a strategy that would set the house in order.

"The cable TV industry has progressed and prospered in the past 3 decades. There is a lot that you have done. But there is something more that you need to do, especially in removing the mess of cables that has become an eyesore. All stakeholders should evolve a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model to either take the cables underground or carry it overhead through a pipeline," she said.

While constructing ducts will be expensive and time consuming, cable operators said the mess can be cleaned up if multiple users including, MSOs and telecommunication firms join hands.

The city has around 2,500 cable operators and 17 lakh cable homes. An estimate puts the length of cables (not only Cable TV) dangling all over the city at 20,000 km. Several of these are damaged and non-operational & should be removed.

Sudip Ghosh of Manthan welcomed the proposal and said all MSOs would support the government in its drive.

The drive will require setting up of a design and technical team that will create the architecture for laying the cable network afresh across the city. n