The Pune district has more than 500 illegal cable operators who are not registered with the nearby post offices as per the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) guidelines — that make it mandatory for cable operators to register with the local post offices and for not paying entertainment duty tax.
In a special drive conducted by the Pune district entertainment department, it has come to light that of the 960 cable operators, at least 500 of them do not have the necessary licence to operate.
Officers from the district entertainment tax department has started issuing notices against the errant operators, who have not registered and are also evading the mandatory entertainment duty tax to the department.
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“It has come to light that more than half of the existing cable operators are operating without following the TRAI guidelines.The operators were given two months to register themselves with the head post-office. But after regular inspection, it was found that the operators continued to evade registering with the post offices and notices have been issued to these operators. The issue has been pending for the past two years,” said an official.
The officers said that there were 1,000 cable operators that were given permission and who registered but the remaining remained elusive.
“These cable operators extract tax from people and do not deposit the same to the department. With the TRAI rules, we are getting to know about the evasions and the entertainment department has been asked to meet the target and get all the registrations,” added the official.
The tax for cable connection per consumer in the city is Rs 24 per month while in rural areas it is Rs 15 per month and even this is being evaded.
The officials have said that even as there are many cable operators they are showing less connections and they are escaping the tax which is to be levied. With every connection, set-top box is compulsory and according to the district entertainment department, though the cable consumers are shown as 1.80 lakh, the actual beneficiaries go upto 4 lakh.
“This is the issue and we have to ensure that such operators who are giving the cable connections have their connections cut,” said the officials.
TRAI rules for the cable operators providing these services through digital addressable systems say that their registration with the head post office before offering services is mandatory and the renewal of registration should be done every year.
Rules also say that there is a need to enter into a written inter-connection agreement with the multi-system operators whose signal is being carried besides ensuring that a MoU is signed within 15 days from the date of signing the agreement.