Scatmag.com

September 2019

TN MINISTER SACKED FOR ARASU COMMENT



Arasu remains a very touchy subject for Tamil Nadu's ruling party, particularly Chief Minister - Edappadi K. Palaniswami who has refused to accept any voice of descent, even by the minister in charge !

Tamil Nadu's Information Technology minister - Dr M. Manikandan's role requires him to oversee the activities of Arasu Cable TV Corporation.

In early August 2019, the state government suddenly slashed the Premium bouquet (with all pay channels) price to just ₹ 130 + 18% GST. This was done to reverse the exit of more than 1 million Arasu homes in the state, after the higher prices under the New Tariff Order.

THE INCIDENT

During the National Handloom Day festival at Emaneswaram on August 7, 2019, Dr Manikandan said Amma (Jayalalithaa) wanted to distribute STBs free-of-cost and fix the monthly tariff at ₹ 70 but "When we approached the government to bear the cost of STBs, the then Finance Secretary and present Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam declined to accept. As a result, we repaid ₹ 400 crore of the STB debt of ₹ 619 crore from our (TACTV) revenue. When we were in distress, neither the government nor anyone came to our rescue. If the government comes forward to provide the balance of ₹ 219 crore or gives the amount as loan, we can even fix the Arasu Cable tariff at ₹ 100 a month."

About the price cut, the IT minister added "I was not consulted. The Chief Minister announced it. A meeting will happen soon."

Hours later, Chief Minister - Edappadi K. Palaniswami sacked Dr Manikandan.






NEW ARASU CHAIRMAN: TROUBLE

In a bid to get 1.2 million consumers who had disconnected their Arasu STBs due to its high cost, on July 22, the Chief minister directly re-appointed (without the IT minister's consent) animal husbandry minister Udumalai K Radhakrishnan as TACTV chairman, a post he held from 2011 to 2016.

On his appointment, Mr Radhakrishnan said "Action will be taken against private cable TV operators who do immediately provide Arasu STBs to consumers who request them."


New Arasu Chairman Also Operates His Own Cable TV Network With 2 Lakh Subs!



CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The IT minister (Arasu operates under Tamil Nadu's IT ministry) Dr Manikandan pointed out that the new Arasu Chairman Mr. Radhakrishnan as owned and operated Akshay Cable Network.

"Instead of asking others to shift, he should first shift the 2 lakh subscribers he has to Arasu Cable. He can advise others after that. If he gives away those 2 lakh subscribers, Arasu Cable will get enough revenue," Manikandan said.

Dr Manikandan pointed out that he was a qualified surgeon, but could not perform surgeries now as he was a Minister. "I cannot be a minister and go and do the other job as well. It won't be right," he said, hinting at a conflict of interest in Mr. Radhakrishnan's position as Chairman of TACTV. n