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To watch TV, ask for your cable bill

If you do not wish to miss your favourite television soap, make sure you ask your cable guy for a receipt the next time you pay your monthly bill.

Signals will be withdrawn soon if operators in Jamshedpur do not follow the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) guidelines, which say that all cable services must register with the postal department and get a service tax number. Besides, they ought to issue bills to subscribers.

Apart from a 12.36 per cent service tax, the state government is allowed to levy another 7.5 per cent as entertainment tax. Without registration and a service tax number, the cable operators evade the taxes.

Trustline Broadband Services Private Limited (TBPL) — the newly set up multi-system operator (MSO) in the city — has already asked local cable operators to register themselves. In case an operator does not, the MSO will withdraw signals.

According to TBPL officials, of the 500-odd cable operators in the steel city, about 50 per cent have been violating the TRAI rules. Till date, customers only have cards and no receipt in lieu of the payments made every month.

“There are many operators who have not registered themselves. They do not have service tax numbers and thus do not pay taxes. We have not yet fixed a deadline, but if the rules are not adhered to soon, we will withdraw signals,” said TBPL director Guddu Gupta.

Most city residents are ignorant of their basic right of a monthly bill.

“For years, we have this card that our operator signs after we pay them the monthly charge. This is to ensure that we are not defaulters. However, we have never asked for a receipt,” admitted Mango homemaker Nandita Biswas.

By September 30, the analog cable TV era will also come to an end. Viewers will have to choose either DTH (direct-to-home) or DAS connection.


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