Bombay High Court today rejected a petition filed by a local cable operator (LCO), seeking an extension in the deadline for a switch-over to digital addressable systems (DAS) from the analogue cable.
Paresh Thakker of Bhavani Rajesh Cable had filed a petition before the court, claiming that the the deadline of October 31, 2012 for the first phase of digitisation cannot be met. The petitioner has also said that a large number of consumers are yet to receive set-top boxes that might result in blackout in large parts of the four metros if the deadline is not extended.
However, hearing on a similar petition, the Madras high court today issued an order restraining the Central government from switching off analogue signals in Chennai till next Monday. The order was given by Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar on Wednesday in response to a petition filed by Chennai Metro Cable TV Operators Association seeking extension of digitisation deadline. Johnson D Kennedy, president of the Association confirmed the Order and said the Court gave stay till Monday and the case will be heard again on the same day.
As per the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, as on October 30 the overall percentage of Cable TV digitisation in 4 metro cities has gone to 91%. With DTH, the digitisation percentage has touched 94 [er cent. There was a huge surge in the installation of Set Top Boxes (STBs) in the metro cities, especially in Delhi, the Ministry said today.
A total of 1,05,180 STBs were installed, out of which approximately 65,000 were installed in Delhi alone. As per the ministry, Mumbai has already achieved 100% digitisation, while in Delhi it is at 95% (along with DTH it has touched 97%); Kolkata is at 83% (85% with DTH) , and in Chennai the pace of seeding has remained somewhat static. The Cable TV digitisation in Chennai stands at 62%; however with DTH the percentage has touched 86%.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had yesterday threatened to launch a countrywide agitation if cable TV services see a blackout. “We cannot accept this stand by the Centre. When set-top boxes (STBs) are not at hand, analogue systems should be allowed to continue. The Centre has no right to black out television,” Banerjee had told the media.