The government in Tamil Nadu is to nationalise all private cable TV services in the Indian state and resurrect the Arasu Cable Corporation, according to reports from Chennai.
The state governor Surjit Barnala, addressing the first session of the 14th legislative assembly on 3 June said: “The government will revive the Arasu Cable Corporation in [the] public interest and nationalise the private cable TV operations in the state without affecting the interests of the last mile local cable operators.”
There are some 20 million cable TV viewers in Tamil Nadu, and distribution of cable services is currently dominated by the Maran family, owners of South India’s Sun TV Network. Leading distributor Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) is owned by Kalanithi Maran, who counts former chief minister M Karunanidhi as his great uncle. The latter’s eldest son controls a rival cable TV distribution company in Tamil Nadu called Jack Cable Service.
The state run Arasu Cable TV Corporation was first proposed in 2008 by the previous government of Tamil Nadu, but was put on the back burner. Now, Governor Barnala says it is in the public interest to revive the plan and for the state to provide TV services at reasonable rates.
It remains to be seen what will come of the Government of Tamil Nadu’s cable TV nationalisation plans, however, as cable distribution is controlled in the South Asian nation by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and the national Ministry of Information & Broadcasting based in Delhi.