Mass weddings for minorities to be launched

Plea to abolish pole tax for rural cable operators

HYDERABAD: Cutting across party lines, members of the Legislative Council cried foul over the high subscription charges collected by local cable operators across the State.

Raising the issue during the question hour, Congress member K.R. Amos sought to know whether the cable television operators were paying entertainment tax to the government which ran into lakhs of rupees.

Municipal Administration Minister Koneru Ranga Rao replied that he did not have the correct information about the district-wise break-up, as the taxes were collected by the Commercial Taxes Department.

Cable operators, B. Changal Rayudu (Congress) said, had formed into a syndicate and fixed their own monthly charges ranging from Rs. 150 to Rs. 300 a month.

Other members demanded a mechanism to check this menace and also the activities of operators, who functioned at their own whims and fancies.

D. Rajeswara Rao, G. V. Ramana Reddy and Palvai Goverdhan Reddy (all Congress) urged the government to keep a watch on the functioning of the cable operators. Intervening, Legislative Affairs Minister K. Rosaiah said a meeting of the Commercial Taxes, Municipal Administration, Energy and Home Ministers would be convened shortly.

Minority Welfare Minister Mohd. Ali Shabbir disclosed that the government would launch the mass marriage programme for poor Muslim and Christian girls from May this year.

Replying to a question by P. Subba Reddy, he said modalities were being worked out as to how the weddings of poor girls belonging to Muslim and Christian families could be performed on the lines of the ‘Kalayanamasthu’ programme launched by the TTD for the Hindus.