Cable television operators in Thoothukudi town are reportedly fleecing the subscribers

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Residents say authorities are turning a blind eye to the situation

A growing number of subscribers of Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation Limited are complaining about the exorbitant rates charged by cable operators for set top boxes supplied by the State-run network that are actually free of cost.

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Cable television operators in Thoothukudi town are reportedly fleecing the subscribers even as the government has issued a directive that only a one-time STB activation fee of Rs. 200 should be collected.

The subscribers have been advised not to pay any additional amount to the operator. But in most parts of the town here, the operators have been demanding Rs. 1,000 and above for a set top box connection, S. Prakash, a resident, said here on Sunday.

Promoting private players

Instead of providing the set top box distributed by the State government free of cost, most of the operators are promoting private players and demanding up to Rs. 2,400 for a connection, S. Fidelis of Kerecope Street, Thoothukudi, said.

Such a serious issue confronting the cable TV subscribers in the State is being ignored by the authorities and no action is being taken against the operators.

The operators are often reluctant to provide the government set top box, citing poor quality in transmission of channels, Edmond Thennavan, a subscriber from Emperor Street, said.

According to sources, however, the quality parameters of a private set top box, which was designed with MPEG 2 technology, are inferior to that of the government set top box that was empowered with MPEG 4 technology of high resolution.

In order to check the saleof set top boxes at such exorbitant prices, the District Administration should create an exclusive mobile app for subscribers to lodge complaints, A. Sankar, president, Indian Consumer Rights Foundation, said.

A special team should be formed to prevent such operators from fleecing. The aggrieved subscribers, who lodge complaints seeking necessary action, should be informed about the action being taken against the erring cable TV operator.

Moreover, subscribers’ payment of the one-time activation fee should be acknowledged with receipts of such payments.

Collector N. Venkatesh told The Hindu that a Tahsildar, who was looking after Arasu Cable TV Corporation earlier, would be replaced with another Tahsildar in a few days to check such menace.

Officials would monitor the cable TV operators to prevent them from indulging in such acts and initiate action, he added.

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