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Updated: November 2, 2012 14:22 IST

Set-top boxes cannot be forced on Kolkatans: Mamata

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West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the press conference. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish
The Hindu
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the press conference. Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

MSOs must have the option of providing analogue signals, she says

On the eve of the deadline for compulsory digitisation of cable television in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced here on Tuesday that she was ready for yet another confrontation with the Centre on the issue.

“Ensuring digitisation can certainly be done, but it cannot be done overnight,” she said, adding that “it was unacceptable, we will not allow it.”

Ms. Banerjee said that at a time when the Centre had already burdened the common man with repeated hikes in fuel prices, restrictions on subsidised LPG cylinders and by withdrawing other subsidies, “the Centre cannot force the people of Kolkata to purchase set-top boxes.”

“The set-top boxes cannot be forced upon the people. The multi-system operators (MSOs) must have the option of providing analogue signals,” she said at a press conference in the State Secretariat.

Hinting at the possibility of vested interests being involved, Ms. Banerjee said the State governments had not been consulted on the matter. She said she had written to the Centre in June, but since she had not received a reply until the eve of the revised deadline, she was forced to speak about it in public.

“Long before setting this deadline, the Centre should have first assessed whether set-top boxes are available in the market. Second, they should have looked into whether the people have the purchasing capacity,” Ms. Banerjee said adding that in Kolkata the Centre should have considered that people would not have money to spare during the festive season.

Mr. Banerjee pointed out that there was a shortage of set-top boxes and people who had the money to spend were not being able to purchase them.

Questioning the motives behind the exercise, she said she had heard that three companies — one domestic firm and two Chinese firms — were the only manufacturers of set-top boxes and had hugely benefited from the switchover.

I am with Hon'ble Mamta ji.
Ministries please See the cost of RICE, GAS, Petrol, Vegetables everything.....
Just think about an common man ; who is working throughout day; earns limited (hand to mouth) was able to watch his Television with Rs.100/-max before 31.10.2012.
Now he has to search for STB or DTH. Questions may be answered by the Center.
1.Cost of STB?
2.Where to install DTH if he has no place (in a shop) to install Antenna ?
3.How much he has to pay monthly?(if he is an ignorant)?
4.Is there any rebate for the Common people?
5.Who is there to guide except touts ?

Posted on: Nov 2, 2012 at 13:03 IST

We are with Mamta Banerjee. She is right that nothing should be enforced on people. People should have choice between analogue and digital TV.

from:  Ravinder Singh
Posted on: Nov 1, 2012 at 12:52 IST

@siddharth sarkar: I was wondering what prompted the govt to move like
this. So this is all about the revenue of the broadcasters and govt. If
that is the case, why the public shuold buy some equipment to aid the
calculation and collection of revenue? These STPs are sold for huge
margin and this could have been collected in installments or best, rent
it out as most of the ISPs do.

from:  Subhash
Posted on: Oct 31, 2012 at 16:37 IST

Govt. shall provide both the options of digital & analogue signal. And
people those who are capable to take digital shall can go for Digital
Signal, and those who cannot aford can still maintain analogue signal

from:  Rakesh Dave
Posted on: Oct 31, 2012 at 12:13 IST

I hope I would have a CM like Mamata who talks on behalf of the common man. On the contrary, we had 4 CMs within 5 years, 3 of them out because of corruption charges, and now they are imposing heavy VAT on the flats purchased in 2006 , which no common man can pay!

from:  Abhijit Kaore
Posted on: Oct 31, 2012 at 10:40 IST

India is a democracy country but we are still governed and ruled by the
powerful people. Why we public could not choose our own choice. why we
are always suppose to enforced by government. I agree that
representatives of LS RS have been chosen by us. Why we are still not

from:  Prasanna M Sangma
Posted on: Oct 31, 2012 at 10:30 IST

Really, this is horrible initiative by miss mamata bannejee.
Digitization should be made mandatory and the deadline should not be
extended by the center. The center has advertised about this in every
possible way, people who did not opt for set top box are those who
wanted to wait and see, expected for an extension in the deadline.
These type of people will always be there. The center should stop
analog signals by today midnight.
Digitization should have been done earlier. It is a type of
development. It will enable the govt. to know about the exact number
of subscribers and get all the revenues. Broadcasters wont have to
just rely on advertisement as LCOs just report maximum of 20%
This will come with better quality of picture and sound. The price
which one has to pay is the actual cost of that package.
I too support siddharth sanjeev, that if digitization would have been
enabled we could now already had much more HD channels.
Everyone won't install cable stb..dth is btr

from:  siddharth sarkar
Posted on: Oct 31, 2012 at 08:40 IST

Why digital tv is being enforced by government , is it for environmental reasons , health hazard or what. Why the public can not choose whether they want digital or not?why govt should dictate even on entertainment methods? tomorrow they will say you have to see cinema in multiplex only and not in single screen theater

from:  blnmurthy
Posted on: Oct 30, 2012 at 17:55 IST

If people like Mamta Banerjee continue talking like this then India as a country will
never develop. Digitization was something which should have been done long ago. If
the scheme would have been launched two to three years back, we would be having
more HD channels now. With digitization compulsory in a couple of days I expect
more HD channels to come in a year or two.

from:  Sidharth Sanjeev
Posted on: Oct 30, 2012 at 17:37 IST
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