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Survey of cable TV subscriber base soon
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PUDUCHERRY: The Local Administration Department will launch a survey to assess the cable television subscriber base in the four regions of the Union Territory.

“We will physically verify the number of subscribers the cable TV operators have ... The decision was taken after doubts surfaced over the subscriber base provided by operators to the local bodies,” a top official told The Hindu.

For example, the cable service providers in Puducherry have given a subscriber base of 9,467 within the Puducherry Municipality limits and another 8,600 in Oulgaret Municipality.

The survey for self-assessment showed there were 39, 694 properties that came under the tax net in Oulgaret. Likewise, a partial self-assessment of property tax in Pondicherry Municipality showed there were 42,000 houses that came under the property tax net.

“If you see the number of property tax assessees and those with cable TV subscription, there is a huge gap. The subscriber base provided by the operators to the municipality could be fudged. So we are going to physically verify the number of households with cable TV connection,” an official said. However, cable TV operators said the subscriber base was dwindling after the introduction of Direct-To-Home TV.

Officials in the Local Administration Department said the operators have not remitted service tax to municipalities and commune panchayats for the last two years. Cumulative arrears to be collected by the municipalities stood at around Rs. 2.39 crore.

Recently, Public Health Minister A. Namassivayam, who holds the Local Administration portfolio, convened a meeting to assess the situation with cable television operators, officials said. The operators agreed to remit tax in instalments within the next six months.

“We would be compelled to take punitive action if the deadline to pay the tax was not adhered to,” they said.

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