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Cable association seeks proof

- APDCL blames operators for loss of life and properties

Guwahati; Dec. 29: Cable TV operators want the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited (APDCL) to prove that the operators are responsible for the damage of properties and loss of life because of haphazard attachment of wires to electric poles.

The cable TV operators, under the banner of Greater Guwahati Cable TV Operators’ Association, said through recent newspaper advertisements the power company alleged that random stringing up of cables by the operators resulted in loss of life and damage to properties.

“We demand the APDCL to establish the involvement of cable operators in any loss of life and damage to properties by citing exact cases with date and venue,” said the general secretary of the association, Iquebal Ahmed.

“Apart from the cable TV operators, electric poles are used for purposes like hanging banners and hoardings by various agencies. Then why blame the cable operators only for accidents or losses?” Ahmed asked.

The cable TV operators said the power company has not given them any technical specification notice on how to attach wires on electric poles.

“A copy of such a circular on technical specification was shown only to a delegation of our association at a meeting with the chairman of APDCL in Bijuli Bhawan in October. It was not distributed formally,” Ahmed said.

The association said in 2008, it suggested to the then chairman of ASEB to formulate guidelines on how to put up cable lines on electric poles and fix a rental system for the cable operators using these poles. But nothing happened.

However, two or three months back, the APDCL fixed Rs 25 as rent per month for each electric pole for the cable operators. The operators said they would go out of business if the APDCL stuck to its decision to charge them Rs 25 per month for each electric pole. They want the power company to reduce it to Re 1.

“The cable TV business has survived because of its subsidised service. A customer pays around Rs 200 for all the channels. But if the APDCL does not reduce the rate, we will not be able to provide subsidised service to our customers or we will have to shut our 25-year-old business,” said Ahmed.

The association said nearly 40,000 people are dependent on cable TV business for their livelihood in the state. It said there are at least 2.8 lakh electric poles in Guwahati alone.