Aruna Ganguly was watching her favourite soap on STAR Jalsa when the TV screen went blank on Monday afternoon. The cable connection was yet to be restored when her husband Tapan came back from work early to catch the opening episode of Sourav Ganguly’s Dadagiri.
Thousands of Calcuttans are battling the same fate as the Gangulys, who live near Ruby hospital, because the MSO has not received their subscription form. Nearly two lakh cable connections have been snapped in the city since Friday’s form fill-in deadline, according to Trai.
“This (deactivation of signals) was the only way to speed up the process of submitting the forms. The same course was followed in other metros where the process has already been completed,” said a Trai official from Delhi.
Many, like the Gangulys, have not received the form from their cable operators. What has caught them unawares is the absence of a formal notice before the disconnection. “For the last two months, we have been asking the cable operator for the form but every time he tells us that he will give it in good time and that there was no chance of a disconnection. But that is exactly what has happened now,” Aruna said.
Of the 30 lakh set-top boxes in Calcutta, forms for only 17 lakh have reached MSOs so far, according to Trai.
The director of an MSO in Calcutta said it had disconnected 1.08 lakh connections and 60 per cent of them had submitted the form shortly after.
“We don’t enjoy harassing people but we have to conform to Trai guidelines. Criminal proceedings can be started against MSOs otherwise,” said the director of the MSO. “If a subscriber is not getting the form, he should contact the MSO concerned. We are dealing with such cable operators strictly because there is no other way we can complete the process quickly.”
Trai is so far relying on figures provided by the MSOs. “Raids on MSO offices will happen eventually but we have not decided when,” said an adviser to Trai.