The report of the standing committee on I&B has revealed that though Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata had clocked 100 per cent digitisation of cable TV services, Tamil Nadu was holding up owing to litigation of the ideal of achieving complete digitisation in the four metros.While complete digitisation was sought to be achieved in the four metros by October 31, 2012 in Phase 1 of the four-phase plan devised by the ministry, litigation by Arasu Cable had held up matters there. The same litigation was also responsible for holding up digitisation in Coimbatore, which falls under Phase 2. In the latter phase, which includes 38 cities that have a population of more than a million, it was to be completed by March 31, 2013.For the same reason, Phases 3 and 4 also had been disturbed and complete digitisation was pending. Phase 3, that includes “all other urban areas” apart from Phases 1 and 2 and Phase 4 which includes the rest of India had to reach complete digitisation by the extended time limit of March 31, 2017, but owing to the TN factor, “about 75% digitisation has been achieved in Phase III and IV areas (excluding Tamil Nadu).The ministry also cited “stays/extension granted by some High Courts in a large number of court cases filed in different courts” as hurdles in achieving 100 per cent digitisation. At the request of the ministry, all these cases had been transferred to the Delhi High Court, but the process took “considerable time”. Owing to delays, the ministry extended the deadline for the sake of consumers, but a large number of stakeholders took this for granted, expecting further relaxation. This, the ministry said, caused further delays.”On the cut off date of 31.3.2017 for Phase 4 areas, the progress of digitisation was about 70 per cent (excluding Tamil Nadu),” the report said.The ministry also said that the help of “Authorised Officers”such as DM, SDM, ADM and Commissioner of Police were considered essential to “take action against defaulting cable operators”.HC ORDERSThe I&B ministry also cited “stays/extension granted by some High Courts in a large number of court cases filed in different courts” as hurdles in achieving 100 per cent digitisation.
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