The district administration has asked cable operators to be served notices for not renewing their license while operators are saying that they are finding it difficult to renew due to staff shortage.

The Bengaluru district administration has decided to serve notices to all those cable operators who have not renewed their broadcast licenses. As many as 126 operators in the West Zone, 392 in the North, 210 in the South and 121 cable operators in GPO areas are yet to renew their licenses.

Additional Deputy Commissioner for Bengaluru Urban District, Shreeroopa, who headed the meeting of the District Level Cable Television Network Act Monitoring Committee on Saturday, directed that the move to issue notices be enforced at once. She also added that those who flout rules further will face legal action in accordance with the Cable Television Network Act.

The fee for license renewal currently stands at Rs 500. It was suggested in the meeting that the operators who don’t obtain yearly renewals on time be required to pay both a higher fee and a penalty. The suggestion was referred to a high-powered committee for action. It was also suggested that the police department’s help be taken to inspect those operators who are functioning illegally as a measure to curb unlicensed broadcasting.

However, V S Patrick Raju, President of the Karnataka State Cable TV Operators Association says, “One has to register at their nearest post office for the renewal of their license. This has proved difficult both due to reduced staff in post offices and heavy workload on operators on account of cable being an essential service. That being said, I appeal to operators to prioritise license renewal.”

He explains that a few Multiple System Operators (MSOs) who provide network feeds do not do so if the service provider does not have a license.

Therefore, according to him, there is no concern of illegal broadcasting without one. While providers are largely abiding by TRAI and GOI regulations, he wishes for the government to give them some time before the rollout of the notices. “It would help if the government could issue guidelines that would allow us some time for license renewal. I am not sure it is in the best interests of service providers to enforce such rules during a difficult time like this,” he added.

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