CM forms body to sort issues of cable operators
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday set up a committee to resolve long-standing issues faced by cable operators. The sole purpose of the committee is to find out ways and means to provide better standard of living to the cable operators.
She was addressing the Cable TV Summit 2018, organised by Cable TV Equipments Traders and Manufacturing Association in Netaji Indoor Stadium, where top brass of multiple system operators (MSOs) and local cable television operators from different parts of the state were present.
Stating that at present there are around 25,000 local cable operators in the state who ensure proper service in households, the Chief Minister asked their representatives present at the venue if they are facing any trouble in carrying on with their work, as they are dependent on incentives they get against a connection. In reply, a local cable operator from Usthi in South 24-Parganas said that they are suffering since the digital system was introduced, replacing the analogue mode of cable service. The reason being that in rural areas, a customer doesn't give more than Rs 150 and they need to give away Rs 110 for one connection. So, with only Rs 40 in hand, they need to bear a maintenance cost of Rs 50.
After knowing this, Banerjee urged Indian Cable Net Company Ltd (ICNCL) director Suresh Sethia and others from the industry to come up on the dais and discussed the matter in detail with them.
Firhad Hakim, the state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister and Moloy Ghatak, the state Labour minister, were also present during the discussion that took place on the dais itself.
Following the discussion, the Chief Minister said: "What I felt is that a discussion with broadcasters is essential to iron out the issue. It can be done if the broadcasters consider a bit from their end."
"A cable TV network advisory committee has been formed with Firhad Hakim as its chairman, apart from Moloy Ghatak, the state Youth Services and Sports minister Aroop Biswas, Mayor Sovan Chatterjee, Director General of Police Surajit Kar Purkayastha, Commissioner of Police Rajeev Kumar and Chairman of the West Bengal Accreditation Committee Biswaranjan Majumder. There will be two representatives from the broadcasters, including Star Group and Zee. There will be one representative in the committee from the MSOs," the Chief Minister said.
She said that it is the cable operators who run the entire operation and directed the Labour minister to look into the possibility of getting into a tripartite arrangement in this connection. In the same breath, she said: "A joint venture (JV) with the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSME) department is also possible, to ensure timely skill development training for local cable operators and synergies can be organised as well, so that they do not lose their earning for lack of knowledge on upcoming technologies."
She added that Amit Mitra, the state Industry and Commerce minister, gave her the idea of the JV on Thursday. In the same programme, she directed to take up a project in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode like Rajarhat and Salt Lake, to ensure that overhead wires are properly managed to prevent them from getting snapped and at the same time, avoiding visual pollution. The wires also lead to problems when Durga idols are taken to puja mandaps, she said. She also directed the cable operators to give the name and phone number of at least one of their officials to the local police, which is essential for their security.
At the same time, she once again criticised circulation of "fake news" and sought help of cable operators in this regard.