Tamil Nadu Minister Manikandan loses job over cable TV tariff spat
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Tamil Nadu Minister Manikandan loses job over cable TV tariff spat

By The Hindu calender  08-Aug-2019

Tamil Nadu Minister Manikandan loses job over cable TV tariff spat

A Raj Bhavan communique said Governor Banwarilal Purohit had accepted the Chief Minister’s recommendation. This is the first time that Mr. Palaniswami has dropped a Minister from the Cabinet. Earlier, he had undertaken a minor reshuffle of the ministry. Mr. Udhayakumar briefly held the IT portfolio when Jayalalithaa was Chief Minister in 2011.
Dr. Manikandan said Amma (Jayalalithaa) wanted to distribute set-top boxes (STB) free of cost and fix the monthly tariff at ₹70 but the government declined to bear the cost of STBs. “When we approached the government to bear the cost of STBs, the then Finance Secretary and present Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam declined to accept. As a result, we repaid ₹400 crore of the total debt (towards providing free STBs) of ₹619 crore from our (TACTV) revenue. When we were in distress, neither the government nor anyone came to our rescue. If the government comes forward to provide the balance of ₹219 crore or gives the amount as loan, we can even fix the Arasu Cable tariff at ₹100 a month,” he said.
Dr. Manikandan said that the decision to reduce the cable TV monthly subscription was taken by the Chief Minister. “I was not consulted. The Chief Minister announced it. A meeting will happen soon,” he said.The IT Minister had joined issue with Mr. Radhakrishnan, who was re-appointed TACTV Chairman on July 22, over a statement made by the latter that action would be taken against private cable TV operators who do not provide Arasu Cable TV’s STBs to consumers if they want one. Dr Manikandan, who appeared upset over Mr. Radhakrishnan’s recent appointment, said the latter should first shift two lakh subscribers who are currently under his cable TV network to Arasu Cable.

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