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TDSAT directs Siti Cable and Bhopal LCOs to appear for mediation on 7 Sep

MUMBAI: The Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) has directed multi-system operator (MSO) Siti Cable Network and Bhopal Cable Operator Association (BCOA) to resolve their disputes through the process of mediation. Both sides have been directed to appear before the Mediation Centre on 7 September.

As an interim arrangement, the tribunal has also directed the MSO not to disconnect the supply of signals to those BCOA cable operators who have made up-to-date payments as per the invoices issued by the MSO and continue to make payment at the rate at which invoices of June 2015 was issued.

The tribunal gave this direction following a categorical statement made by BCOA counsel Nittin Bhatia that the cable operators had made payments as per the invoices issued by the MSO and that they would continue to make payments to the MSO at the rate at which the invoice dated 30 June 2015 was issued.

The tribunal also said that whether any cable operator owed dues to the MSO would be determined based on the reconciliation of accounts and, if any dues were found against any of the cable operators, he would have to clear it within two weeks from the ascertainment of the said amount.

Bhatia stated that though BCOA represents 119 cable operators operating in Bhopal, it had been able to enclose authorisation signed by only 67 cable operators. He stated that he would file authorisation by the remaining 52 operators within a week from Monday.

The cable operators being represented in this petition have been taking their feed from Siti Cable Network. Their primary grievance is that the MSO is unilaterally and steadily increasing the monthly subscription fees payable by them.

According to Siti Cable counsel Tejveer Singh Bhatia, the cable operators paid the monthly subscription at the rate of Rs 30 per STB up to March 2013 and thereafter at Rs 60 per STB, but now the invoices being raised by the respondent are at Rs 83.11 (excluding taxes) for the package of channels supplied by it.

While maintaining that he did not have full instructions in the matter, Bhatia said that the MSO had huge dues against a number of cable operators being represented by the petitioner.