I&B Min to discuss progress of digitisation drive tomorrow

Last Updated: Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 21:45

New Delhi: In a crucial meeting tomorrow, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry's Task force on digitisation of cable services would evaluate the progress made in achieving the set targets in the four metros.

The task force, which is headed by Additional Secretary in the I&B Ministry Rajiv Takru, has representatives of the Broadcasting industry, other stakeholders and consumers on its board.

The I&B Ministry has set June 30 this year as the date by which cable services in the four metros -- Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata -- has to be completely digitised.

But with only weeks left, there are questions as to how the plan would be implemented since lakhs of Set Top Boxes (STBs), which are required to be installed in each cable household, have yet not been planted.

Sources told media that in the meeting of the task force, a strategy would be prepared as to how the Ministry should move forward in its digitisation drive at a time when all the four cities seem unlikely to meet the deadline.

While Delhi, Mumbai which fall under Congress-run state governments have made progress, doubts had been raised in the past about the preparedness of Kolkata and Chennai.

A senior minister in the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government had in the past expressed dissatisfaction with the Ministry's plan on digitisation following which the I&B Secretary had held a meeting with the West Bengal Chief Secretary last month.

The AIADMK government in Tamil Nadu is also learnt to have sought more time beyond the June 30 deadline for implementing digitisation in Chennai. Last week, I&B Minister Ambika Soni met stakeholders to review the preparations but had not given any hint of a possible decision to extend the deadline.

In the meeting, the broadcasters, MSOs, LCOs and others had been given a proforma in which they could give their responses, suggestions, practical difficulties and also details of the progress they have achieved.

The stakeholders have been asked to give a detailed feedback of the situation by June 11 and this feedback would be then discussed in the Task force on digitisation meeting on June 15, a senior official said.


First Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 21:45

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