Thackeray objects to set-top deal

World Brief

With hardly a month to go before the Conditional Access System rolls out in India, Mumbai-based right-wing party supremo Bal Thackeray has put a spoke in the wheel.

CAS will allow viewers to pay for only the channels they watch, rather than a group. But Thackeray has objected to the cost of the set-top boxes and their Brit origins, and he raised doubts about CAS being “consumer and cable operator friendly.”

Information and Broadcasting Minister Ravi Prasad dashed to Mumbai to placate the influential leader, whose support he needs, as many cable operators in Mumbai and Maharashtra are members of his right-wing Shiva’s Army and will not move without his orders.

Thackeray holds enormous sway with state government officials, and his followers can make things unpleasant for the federal government.

CAS is due to be implemented in New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai on July 15.

Thackeray wants CAS to start with New Delhi and move to Mumbai.

So far, the government is standing firm on both the date and cities where it will be implemented.

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