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Arasu cable network might not get Central Govt nod

Chennai, Nov 16  () : The central I&B ministry is likely to accept the TRAI recommendation that State Government or its controlled body should not operate cable TV network. If this comes into effect then Arasu TV run by the Tamil Nadu government will have to shut shop.

As early as 2008, TRAI had in its recommendation said that State Govt. should not control cable TV network because it would lead to the govt to decide what the public should see and not to see. This could lead to State censorship of TV channels, the regulatory body pointed out.

The ministry then sent a draft note to all the players involved asking for their views. As per the new law, The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2011, all the four metros’ TV viewers have to receive only digital signals through set-top boxes and the cable operators will have to apply for a DAS licence. Without this licence, no cable operator can operate.

Arasu Cable which had so far not entered Chennai since it was under the CAS regime for the first time forayed into the metro after it signed a Rs 30 crore royalty agreement with Sun network to beam their channels. As per rule, Arasu applied for licence in July 2012 but so far the ministry has not cleared it.

The ministry has woken up to this issue as requests for licences are coming up from some regional parties that are controlling the States. The ministry has so far cleared 11 applications and they feel if they permit one State controlled cable network then it will have to clear all.

Arasu was first formed by DMK ministry to beat Sun TV ‘s Sumangli cables after the family feud with Maran family. Later, after the patch up it was defunct. Jayalalithaa revived it and took away many cable operators who were linked to Sumangali that reaches 4.9 million households in Tamil Nadu out of the 12 million connections.

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