Puducherry: Chief Minister N Rangasamy on Monday said the administration would examine the feasibility of the government taking over cable TV operations in Puducherry.
A committee has been constituted for the purpose, he said, intervening during a reply to a question from AIADMK member Om Sakthi Sekhar on the assurance given by the government on taking over the cable TV operations.
He also welcomed the suggestion from opposition for such a corporation to beef up the revenue to municipalities. “I fully agree with the view of the member that the municipalities’ revenue should be strengthened”, Rangasamy said, accepting the loss of revenue to the government from the private operators that was pointed out by the members.
Earlier replying to the question, Local Administration Minister N G Panneerselvam said the government’s intention was to take over the cable TV operations. The suggestions from the members would also be taken for consideration, he added.
Om Sakthi Segar ADMK MLA accused that “a private concern operating cable television in Puducherry had been netting hefty sums from subscriptions. But the concern was not paying the taxes to the municipalities and on the other hand presenting statements to the authorities concealing the actual number of connections it was serving”.
“As much as Rs 250 was being collected from every subscriber every month month and around 2.40 lakh connections were under the control of the private concern”, he alleged.
The government should launch its own corporation so that the fund starved municipalities’ revenue position would become comfortable. Om Sakthi Segar also gave a revenue projection stating that there were 2.4 lakh cable TV connections, earning ` 4.8 crore through a connection charge of `200 to `250 per month. Even if they paid 10 per cent of their earnings as tax it would amount to a sum of around `48 lakh earnings for the government. If a service tax of 2 per cent and educational cess of one per cent is collected upon it, the government would earn further revenue. Moreover, if charges are levied on usage of electricity posts for connections at the rate of `32 per kmm, an additional `19,680 per month would be earned by the government.
AIADMK legislature party leader P Purushothaman said, Segar had been bringing to the notice of the government for the last three years the “hefty earnings of the private player and “untrue” accounts submitted to the government on number of connections. No action had been taken to start a corporation, he said.
Replying to a question by Purushothaman, the Chief Minister said that a Traders Welfare Board would be formed soon in Puducherry and details of the system in place in neighbouring states were also being collected. The Board would come up without delay, he said.
It may be noted that recently the Karnataka Government also discussed on stating its own cable TV network and started a feasibility study with the help of TN government’s Arasu Cable TV Network.