GUWAHATI, Sept 11 - The Cable TV Operators Forum of Assam (COFA) has expressed concern over the lackadaisical attitude of the State Government towards the cable TV industry and lack of any proper policy to protect or secure the employment of thousands of local educated youths engaged as cable operators.
The forum also expressed anguish and shock over the inactivity of the government in controlling the illegal activities by a section of individuals involved in cable TV industry, exploiting small operators in nexus with a section of government officials and hampering the interests of genuine operators.
It may be noted that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, has mandated for compulsory digitisation of all cable networks across India in four phases by December 31, 2016, through implementation of the Digital Addressable System (DAS), for which use of the set-top box at the consumer�s end is compulsory.
The DAS is primarily rolled out with the objective of proper assessment of revenue collection from cable networks, which was lacking in analogue mode, quality service to consumers and availability of broadband services through cable networks, besides generation of employment.
Alleging gross violation of the TRAI rules, the forum alleged that the consumers are deprived of their rights since most of the Multiple System Operators (MSO) issue set-top boxes without proper warranty, guarantee or even pricing policy as prescribed by TRAI.
The forum appealed to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to constitute a high-level inquiry into the lawlessness, irregularities, anomalies, vandalism in cable TV industry by a few capitalists in connivance with a section of government officials.
�There is also a lack of after-sales service with provision of toll-free numbers in customer care centres to be maintained by the MSO. And most importantly, use of unencrypted STB by the MSO (without CAS/SMS) is one of the serious lapses, leading to improper assessment of consumer size, resulting in loss of government revenue, which was the primary objective of the enhanced revenue collection from cable TV,� stated Ansul Hoque, president of the forum.
The operators� body further alleged that authorised officers of cable TV, who are the DM, SDM, ADM and Commissioner of Police as defined in Cable TV Act empowered to tackle such situations, are mute spectators to all the unlawful activities.
�Cable TV operators are subjected to harassment from pay broadcasters from time to time due to imposition of abnormal and unusual terms conditions on the operator,� general secretary of the forum Iquebal Ahmed added.