Declaring to end the looting of the cable mafia, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi announced on Monday to fix the monthly rate of cable connection at Rs 100. Minister said that the cable mafia is harassing the people of Punjab by levying hefty charges, and the state would not tolerate it anymore. “Government would take strict actions against those who defy the rules,” he added.
Capping at Rs. 100 for cable connection not feasible, says cable operators
According to an HT report, in response to the announcement, cable service providers across the state called for a state-wide emergency meeting and concluded that the new capping at Rs 100 is unfeasible. The group alleged that the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is trying to micromanage the cable networks. Added to it, the regulatory authorities are implementing selective price slashing as the prices of DTH providers are not capped.
According to Peeush Mahajan, Chief Executive Officer, Fastway Cable Network, TRAI had fixed the rate at Rs 130 plus the 18% GST as charges, which totals to Rs. 154 per connection for 200 channels. The cost bifurcation shows that Rs 91 goes to the cable operator, Rs 10 as taxes and the remaining to the service provider. The operators have to pay employees’ salaries and maintenance costs from Rs 91.
DTH prices are not slashed
DTH providers, on the other hand, are charging between Rs 300 to Rs 900 per package. The government has not announced any capping on the DTH charges so far. According to the operators, if cable TV prices are capped, the government should also limit the prices of DTH providers. They alleged the action as ‘selective penalising’. The cable TV business reportedly suffers a reduction in subscribers across the country as people are increasingly shifting to high-speed internet-based platforms.
The cable providers would request the CM to reconsider the new capping. Around 20,000 people are associated with the cable business across Punjab.
In his announcement to the public, CM Charanjit Singh Channi also blamed monopoly in transport and cable businesses as the Badal family owns all such companies. Minister further plans to revoke illegal bus permits in the state and grant such licenses to the unemployed youths of the state.