TN Govt committed to taking over cable TV MSOs: Jayalalithaa

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Our Bureau

Chennai, Jan. 23

THE Tamil Nadu Government is committed to legislate the Bill to take over large cable television networks, the multi-system operators, for public good, said the Chief Minister, Ms J. Jayalalithaa, in the Assembly on Monday.

Spelling out the Government's stand on the issue, she said the DMK Chief, Mr M. Karunanidhi, was attempting to circumvent the democratic process of discussing the Bill in the Assembly by going to the Governor, Mr Surjit Singh Barnala, directly to block it.

The Assembly then moved a breach of privilege motion against Mr M. Karunanidhi. The Speaker, Mr K. Kalimuthu, referred the issue to a privilege committee.

The DMK members who protested were evicted.

Ms Jayalalithaa stressed that the Government would follow up and enact the Tamil Nadu acquisition, transfer and taking over of the administration of cable television network (including multiple service optical transport system) Bill, 2006.

The Bill, which was introduced on Saturday, said the law would apply to Sumangali Cable Vision and Hathway. Sumangali Cable Vision is a part of the Sun TV group.

A notice of amendment was issued today to bring under its purview more multi-system operators, including Baba Cable Vision, Chennai; Polymer Cable, Salem;

Thamizh Thai

Cable Vision, Coimbatore; Ajai Cable TV, Madurai; and Karan TV, Tirunelveli.

The Government will take this step in the larger interest of the public as cable television reaches every house and provides a wide range of information - general knowledge, news, games and entertainment. It has become an integral part of everyday life.

The Government has received complaints of deficiency in service, high charges, steep costs of some package of channels and intimidation. So it has decided to bring in the legislation in public interest to tackle the problem caused by the cable TV operators.

She said that when the Bill was introduced in the Assembly on Saturday the DMK members were `as usual' not present in the House. But, according to reports, within half-an-hour of the Bill being introduced, Mr Karunanidhi and Mr Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, hastened to the Raj Bhavan, expressed objection to the Bill and urged the Governor not to give his assent, she added.

Mr Karunanidhi had taken inordinate interest in blocking this Bill only because of the fear that his family would lose its monopolistic control over the cable TV networks, Ms Jayalalitha alleged.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 24, 2006)
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