The state government has called a meeting of the stakeholders in the cable industry as well as police at Writers’ Buildings on Tuesday with no word from the Centre on pushing back the digitisation deadline.
Cable operators and multi-system operators (MSOs), who confirmed the call for the meeting, believe the city is not ready for the switchover — despite the 81 per cent digitisation figure in Calcutta cited by Delhi.
“The cable operators cannot openly claim that the information and broadcasting ministry’s figure is bloated as that would be tantamount to admitting that they have been under-declaring subscription figures,” said an insider.
Officials of some MSOs said they would meet the joint commissioner of police, Jawed Shamim, separately to discuss the possibility of law and order problems when analogue signals are withdrawn on November 1.
A senior police officer said according to information available with them, at least 40 per cent of city homes still have analogue cable. Those who have not got set-top boxes despite applying to their cable operators are the most aggrieved.
“No one is being able to gauge what would happen when the TV actually goes blank and people start missing their favourite serials and matches. We need to ensure that offices of MSOs and cable operators are not attacked,” said Shamim.
The Centre has not indicated that it would give more time for the switchover despite two letters from the Bengal government and requests from Chennai.
Suresh Setia, director, Siti Cable, said many subscribers were not taking the deadline seriously.
“Initially no one was willing to buy a box. Things were better before the earlier deadline (June 30, 2012). We were selling 12,000 boxes per day in the middle of June but now we are selling around 5,000 boxes a day,” he said.