GUWAHATI, Aug 2 - The Cable TV Operators Forum (COFA) has appealed to the State government to clear the confusion on the Amusement and Betting Tax (A&BT) reduction as announced in the State budget, which has, on the contrary, led to a hike of the tax for cable operators from Rs 10 to Rs 25 a month.
Demanding the State government look into the matter as soon as possible, the Forum stated that although a tax reduction was announced in the Assembly, the amount mentioned in the budget was that of the DTH and not cable TV, both being completely two different entities.
�Cable TV operators are now in double trouble as on July 2, ahead of the State budget, the tax was hiked from Rs 10 to Rs 20 per month and after the budget announcement of reduction the tax is now Rs 25 per month for the cable operators,� stated the Forum.
Attributing the goof-up to the confusion between the Cable TV and DTH, the cable TV representatives said that earlier the A&BT on cable TV was Rs 10 and for DTH it was Rs 25, but after the tax hike on July 2 this year, it went up to Rs 20 and Rs 30 for cable TV and DTH respectively. But in the budget, which intended to reduce the tax, it was mentioned that A&BT for cable TV has been reduced from Rs 30 to Rs 25, which means another hike of Rs 5 for the cable TV operators.
The Forum has also approached Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to do the necessary rectification and clear the confusion.
�The cable TV industry in the State, which is a source of self-employment for hundreds of youth, is already reeling under several problems. We want the State government to do the needful for waiving entertainment tax from cable TV temporally up to 2018 as a relief to cable operators for completion of digitisation of cable networks which has been mandated by the Government of India,� the Forum stated.
The Forum also asked the State government to take measures for curbing irregularities and malpractices by various stakeholders, especially broadcasters, by empowering the proposed State-level monitoring committee and to take up with broadcasters of national-level pay channels for providing subsidised rates of their packages for Northeastern States, taking into consideration the political, industrial and economic scenario of the region.