Indian pay channels, specially those belonging to the Star group, have been blacked out by cable operators in Bangladesh since Nov 4.

Users complain that they have paid for these channels but not received their signal because of the boycott by Bangladesh cable operators spearheaded by Anwar Parvez.

The cable operators have been refusing to pay their huge dues to the pay channel provider Jadoo Vision Ltd, but they have already collected full payment from the clients nationwide.

Parvez has also threatened Kunal Deshmukhya, an Indian national and the chief executive officer (CEO) of Jadoo Vision, which provides more than 280 channels in the country.

Parvez also teased Jadoo Vision by calling it ‘Assam Vision’, as Kunal Deshmukhya is from Assam.

Talking to Dhaka journalists, Parvez said Kunal, unless he apologises for being pushy, should leave Bangladesh or face stringent action under the Foreigners Act.

But Parvez’s rival group in Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) refused to endorse his action.

“Coordination Committee” of COAB led by Syed Mosharraf Ali Chanchal and other former leaders have ‘disowned’ Parvez in a press conference.

There are 30 million cable TV subscribers in Bangladesh whose monthly bill range between Taka 200 to 600 per month and the annual volume of collections by Cable Operators on average stands around Taka 7200 crore.

But Bangladesh government merely gets an annual revenue of oy Taka 25 crores from Cable Operators.

Chanchal has told Dhaka journalists that only a ‘ very small section’ of Cable Operators ( total: 600) have aligned themselves to Parvez’s COAB Unity Council.

“They have brought up some unwanted issues at different times,” Chanchal alleged. ” We believe in solving problems through dialogue. If we failed to solve this crisis, the clients will be dependent on Sky (DTH) and IP TV.”

Most of the Cable operators were urged to refrain from the boycott of Indian Channels ” in the interests of the customers” as Chanchal said the Indian channels, specially Star group ones were very popular in the country.

“Most of us are not in any way supporting the Star Channel boycott movement,” said Chanchal.

COAB has no valid board of directors for long period.

Jadoo Vision, which markets the Indian channels in Bangladesh, said “huge unpaid dues’ by cable operators hits at the heart of their budiness”.

“We have to pay up the TV companies as distributors. Some of the operators are pirating the channels and we can’t allow these illegal practices. We are in legal business,” Jadoo Vision Kunal Deshmukhya told the Dhaka media on Monday night.

He alleged Parvez and his supporters have used ‘different excuses’ to avoid paying their dues.

“They are attempting to forcefully collect all the bills from cable operators under the banner of ‘One Alliance’, which is illegal,” Kunal said.

“We have always been keen to settle all the issues. We are always open to negotiate with willing operators regarding the payment of the bills,” he added.

“Huge payment of the cable operators is due. We have tried to solve their problems by discussing them at different times,” he said.

But Kunal alleged that some like Parvez are trying to force cable operators across Bangladesh to collect their bills unethically through an organization called “One Alliance”. This is unethical, he insisted.

“Timely billing is a must to keep the business afloat. This is what they are disrupting. Though Jadu Vision has not increased the subscription charges, these elements are trying to mislead cable operators of the country by spreading rumors,” Kunal told the Dhaka media.

Subir Bhaumik

Subir Bhaumik is a Kolkata-based senior journalist. He can be reached at: