Now States Will Have A Say In CAS Implementation

New Delhi: | Updated: Sep 19 2003, 05:30am hrs
After over a fortnight of theoretically launching the conditional access system (CAS), the government is looking at ways and means to make it operational. Or, at least to keep the CAS momentum on. Even as the Centre has been talking of involving the state governments ever since CAS had a false start, a formal decision has now been taken in that direction.

Information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here on Thursday that recommendations of state governments will be considered before notifying any new areas for CAS. Also, state-level implementation committees will be constituted in Kolkata and Mumbai for CAS. So far, states were not involved in any formal manner as far as the new cable TV system is concerned.

But, when out of the four cities scheduled to have CAS in the first phase, three of themDelhi, Mumbai and Kolkataopted out of it, the Centre decided to do a rethink on the issue. While for Delhi, CAS was deferred citing approaching Assembly elections, Kolkata and Mumbai refused to comply with the Centres norms.

The new rules required that pay TV channels should be accessed only with the help of set-top boxes.

On the surface, both Mumbai and Kolkata didnt want their festive season to be spoilt by the implementation of CAS. But their real grudge, it is understood, is that if Delhi has rejected CAS, there must be something essentially bad about CAS. Chennai has been the only exception in implementing CAS. Although its not much of a pay market, I&B officials seem to feel that the offtake has been good here.