TAMIL NADU

Centre to consult CMs on CAS in metros

CHENNAI OCT. 26. The Centre has decided to seek recommendations of Chief Ministers before implementing the "Conditional Access System" (CAS) in other metros, the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said today.

"It is a kind of a policy-level decision that we have taken. It is not a kind of a prior approval but a formal consultation to set in motion the consumer-friendly regime," Mr. Prasad said answering questions from reporters at the Meenambakkam airport here.

The CAS, he said, should not be a cause for political hostility or Centre-State strife. While appreciating the implementation of the CAS in Chennai, he said: "Chennai has shown what CAS is all about in as much as many pay channels became free to air."

The introduction of the CAS in New Delhi had become a contentious issue in the wake of Assembly elections.

"We had organised a meeting of chief secretaries, where a suggestion had come from the West Bengal Government that we may have a State-level implementation committee consisting of multi-system operators, cable operators, officials and consumer groups. We acceded to that request in as much as the State Governments have to play a substantial role. We can only lay down the general parameters. Accepting that suggestion, we have written to the Chief Ministers of West Bengal and Maharashtra requesting them to constitute the committees."

Asked whether any more amendments to the Cable TV regulation laws planned to bring about accountability for local operators, the Minister said the larger issue was to provide a scope for competition so that the consumers might have a choice.

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