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Manish Tewari's first task -- meeting cable digitalisation deadline

Sunday, 28 October 2012 - 6:57pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
With Manish Tewari swearing in as the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, the first challenge that awaits him is to oversee implement digitisation of cable services in the four metros by October 31.

With Manish Tewari swearing in as the Minister for Information and Broadcasting, the first challenge that awaits him is to oversee implement digitisation of cable services in the four metros by October 31.

When Tewari was asked by reporters about his plans for digitisation today, he said that he would contact the outgoing minister first.

"I have not applied my mind to it so far. I will talk to all the stakeholders. First I will talk to the outgoing Minister Ambika Soni. Ambika ji was Youth Congress President of Punjab when I was in school," he said.

With Soni at the helm, the Information and Broadcasting ministry has launched an aggressive campaign as per which from November 1st onwards, viewers will not be able to watch cable TV unless they had installed Set Top Boxes (STBs).

The ministry had in its statement on Friday also claimed that in the four Metros - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, the percentage of digitisation had reached 85%, which with Direct to Home(DTH) connections goes up to 90%.

However, certain quarters had contested these figures. In Kolkata, a body of cable operators had said that number of cable connections was reduced to prove higher penetration.

"The claim is not true as Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has reduced the cable connection estimate in the four metros from 1.33 crore to just 68.40 lakh in three months," Cable Operators Digitisation Committee convener Swapan Chowdhury had said.

With hardly any time left, the new I&B minister will have to soon take a decision to switch off the analogue signal, ending TV viewing of those who have not installed STBs.

However, there are apprehensions that the move could cause resentment and may be opposed, especially in Kolkata, since the West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had herself criticised the digitisation drive in the past by saying that it would affect the poor.


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