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Tamil Nadu CM drops minister from cabinet due to cable TV tariff spat

Arasu Cable recently revised down its subscription rates.

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MUMBAI: While Tamil Nadu’s state-run cable operator Arasu Cable revised down its subscription rates recently, the move has led to a political crisis in the state. Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has dropped former IT minister Dr Manikandan from his cabinet.

After the recent announcement of price revision, Manikandan accused Palaniswami of unilaterally taking the decision of reducing the cable TV monthly subscription as per a report from The Hindu. “I was not consulted. The chief minister announced it. A meeting will happen soon,” Dr Manikandan said. He also alleged that the government declined to fund the government cable network Arasu Cable.

“When we approached the government to bear the cost of STBs, the then finance secretary and present chief secretary K Shanmugam declined to accept. As a result, we repaid ₹400 crore of the total debt (towards providing free STBs) of Rs 619 crore from our (TACTV) revenue. When we were in distress, neither the government nor anyone came to our rescue. If the government comes forward to provide the balance of Rs 219 crore or gives the amount as loan, we can even fix the Arasu Cable tariff at ₹100 a month,” he said.

On July 22, Animal Husbandry minister Udumalai Radhakrishnan was appointed as the chairman of the cable network which did not make Manikandan happy either. He also pointed out the conflict of interest by saying that the latter should first shift two lakh subscribers who are currently under his cable TV network Akshaya Cable to Arasu Cable.

Radhakrishnan recently said that the 11 lakh STBs provided by Arasu Cable which had been switched off, needed to be brought back online as Arasu Cable had now lowered its tariffs.

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