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Beam box date for Thackeray

New Delhi, June 12: Union information and broadcasting minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is slated to meet Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray in Mumbai tomorrow “and clarify” doubts the BJP ally has raised on the conditional access system for cable television.

Last week, Thackeray alleged the government was introducing a new regime for cable television at the behest of a London-based business group. He even insinuated that there was a whiff of a scandal in the manner of introducing the CAS, scheduled to roll out on July 14.

Cable operators in Mumbai have been wary of the CAS regime since the Shiv Sena leader spelt out his opposition to it. Earlier in the week, STAR TV chief Peter Mukerjea had also met Thackeray.

Prasad is scheduled to meet Thackeray in a week in which the ministry had reached an understanding with broadcasters.

Major cable broadcasters had met Union information and broadcasting secretary Pawan Chopra on Tuesday. They came back from the meeting after informing the government that their pay channels will not turn free-to-air and that they will work out an invitation price lure viewer to buy set-top boxes. In turn, the government has also got an assurance that major fluctuations in pay channel rates would not be made in the first three months of the CAS regime.

Prasad goes to Mumbai armed with arguments to convince Thackeray that CAS will be consumer-friendly. Prasad is also slated to meet representatives of consumer groups.

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