A digital cable set-up atop a house at Okhni locality in Hazaribagh on Thursday. Picture by Vishvendu Jaipuriar
Hazaribagh, Feb. 6: The process of digitalisation of cable TV has started in Hazaribagh with set-top boxes being installed at households in the third phase of the country-wide drive.
Rajrappa Cables, the main cable operator in the region that gets signal from multi-system operator (MSO) Den Digital Cable and transmits it to small-time cable service providers, has asked subscribers not to cough up more than Rs 1,000 for a set-top box.
Rajrappa Cables’ officials said they had to caution the public in the wake of complaints that several small-time operators were fleecing cable TV watchers by charging anything between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,700 for installation of set-top boxes.
“But the actual price of a set-top box is Rs 1,000. So, customers must not pay more. The district administration will hold a meeting with cable operators within a few days to sort out the issue,” director of Rajrappa Cables Mohammad Naseem told The Telegraph.
Ram Lakhan Prasad, a resident of Adarshpuri in Okni Mohalla who was fleeced by his cable operator, blamed lack of information for the mess.
“Our cable man charged Rs 1,700 from me for a set-top box. The cable operators are minting money this way in the absence of any clear-cut information and guidelines on the matter,” Prasad said.
Naseem, meanwhile, urged all to get the set-top boxes as soon as possible as they can watch 235 channels for only Rs 120 a month. “The Union government had included Hazaribagh in the third phase of installation of set-top boxes, but didn’t fix a deadline or for that matter, the charges. So, we are charging only Rs 120 per month from cable subscribers, who had installed set-top boxes,” he added.
Rajrappa Cables caters to both Hazaribagh town as well as rural areas of different blocks, including Ichak, Katkamsandi, Katkamdag, Sadar and Barkagaon. Its total customer base is more than 2 lakh and so far, only 5,000 have fixed set-top boxes.
Several channels have already gone off air at houses that are yet to toe the digital guideline. Some of these subscribers could earlier watch 120 to 130 channels, it came down to 70 in the past 10 days.
A complete TV blackout will be the next step. Sub-divisional officer (sadar) Rajeev Ranjan said he would soon call a meeting of operators to review the situation and sort out the issues that have cropped up.