The Tamil Nadu cable TV operators are considering reducing the monthly tariff being collected from the public following the state government announcing the abolition of the taxes being collected from the operators by the local bodies.
Finance minister K. Anbazhagan had announced in his budget speech that the cable TV operators need not pay taxes to the local bodies. Each operator was paying Rs 72,000 per annum if his office fell within a city corporation limit and Rs 36,000 if he was in a municipality. The town panchayats charged Rs 18,000 and village panchayats collected Rs.12,000 a year from the operators within their jurisdiction. The government also wrote off Rs16 crore that the operators owed to the various local bodies across the state.
“With such a big bonanza sanctioned by the government, we are hopeful that the operators will reduce the fee they are collecting from the customers,” said Shakeela, a housewife at suburban Tambaram. The Chennaites also are harbouring similar hopes though in their case, the tariff is guided by TRAI guidelines.
“We have called a meeting of the executive council of the cable TV operators’ federation on March 30 at Cuddalore to discuss this issue and take a decision on streamlining the tariff in order to help the customers without causing a serious dent in our business,” said P Sakilan, president of the Tamizhaga Cable TV Operators General Welfare Association.
However, another operators’ representative said he was not quite sure whether the government’s sops could percolate down to the user-public.
“While the government abolished the tax we must pay, there is no clear instruction that we must reduce our tariff,” said D. G. V. P. Sekar, a Chennai operator.