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Date dilemma over CAS

The date for implementing the conditional access system (CAS) in Calcutta is drawing near. The Centre will issue a notification on this score after the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government sends in its recommended date to the union information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry.

This decision was taken at a meeting in New Delhi on Monday, between officials of the I&B ministry and of the four metros where CAS will be implemented in the first phase.

As for the date preferred in Calcutta, the state government would certainly not have the system implemented before the festive season is over.

“We would certainly want the new system to be implemented in the city on the day scheduled for other metros. However, if the issue is settled and the other metros want to implement CAS immediately, we would still go for it only after the festivities are over,” said Basudeb Banerjee, secretary, information and culture, who represented the state at the Monday meet.

The centre will amend its earlier notification, which stated that CAS would be implemented by September 1, 2003.

“We will get into the act only after the central government informs us of its views on yesterday’s meeting. We are also expecting a set of guidelines on CAS,” Banerjee added.

The state secretary discussed the Bengal’s government’s doubt of cross-subsidy being discontinued in the wake of CAS implementation at the meeting.

However, central officials assured him that it was not to be so. The Centre is expected to clear “all the grey areas” on which the Bengal government had sought clarifications in a short while.

It was also decided that a committee would be formed in Bengal, comprising representatives of the union I&B ministry, the state government, MSOs, broadcasters, cable operators and consumers.

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