Staff Reporter

Entertainment tax arrears mount to Rs. 88 lakh

Survey puts the total number of cable TV connections at 1.61 lakhConnections will be disconnected if MSOs don't pay up by Monday

VIJAYAWADA: The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation has decided to crack down on multi-system operators (MSOs), who have been evading entertainment tax of Rs. 5 for each connection every month. The VMC pegs the arrears at Rs. 88.88 lakh.

VMC Commissioner Natarajan Gulzar said at a press conference on Thursday that a detailed door-to-door survey carried out in the city revealed that the total number of cable TV connections was 1,61,602. As many as 193 operators, affiliated to three MSOs, were servicing these connections.

As per the declarations furnished by the MSOs, only 72,669 cable connections were working in the city under 149 operators. But the actual number was 90,000 more, which resulted in underpayment of entertainment tax, Mr. Gulzar pointed out.

Survey accurate

He maintained that the survey was highly accurate, as the VMC staff had obtained the signatures of almost all the house owners or tenants.

As he elaborated, the VMC was entitled for a monthly demand of Rs.8.08 lakh from the MSOs. As the dues had piled up from September last, the corporation was expected to get Rs. 88,88,110.

"We have already served notices on MSOs, and will begin disconnecting the connections from Monday, if they don't comply with the order," Mr. Gulzar made clear.

The local bodies had been authorised to collect entertainment tax from the MSOs under Entertainment Tax Rules, 1939, which were amended in 2002.

Mr. Gulzar also expressed satisfaction over the control of malaria cases since January in nine most endemic areas by keeping a close watch over sanitation operations and taking other preventive steps as part of an action plan.

Cases of malaria

As compared to the period January-May 2005 when 718 positive cases of malaria were reported, only 322 cases had been reported from these areas during January-May 2006.

He said this was achieved by giving sanitation workers a daily schedule of places to visit. The sanitation staff also maintained a strict vigil on the overflowing septic tanks.