Delhi is finally rushing to avoid a TV blackout. Residents of the city bought 70% of all set top boxes recently sold in the country, sources in the ministry of information and broadcasting have said.
Around 88,000 set top boxes were installed in the four metros on Monday. Of them, around 61,000 were installed in the Capital itself, the sources said.
The rush comes in the wake of the October 31 deadline for TV owners in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai to shift from analog cable connections to digital set top boxes.
"This is an indication of the high level of awareness among the people and their enthusiasm to embrace a better technology. Everyone knows that set top boxes are now mandatory because of advertisements and bulk text messaging campaigns," said a ministry official who did not want to be named.
According to him, government officials entrusted with the task of implementing digitisation in Delhi are conducting surveys to determine the ground reality.
A senior Delhi government official said 25% of the consumers are yet to get set top boxes.
"They still have tomorrow (October 31) following which the cable networks will be shut down. Operators who use digital feed and broadcast it through cable will be penalised," the official said.
The divisional commissioner of the revenue department, Dharam Pal, will on Wednesday meet deputy commissioners and sub-divisional magistrates to take stock of the situation.
The switch has meant harassment for some, though. Anshuman Tripathi, a resident of Dwarka Sector VI, had a hard time convincing his cable operator to get a set top box installed in his home. "After weeks of incessant calls, we finally got a set top box this Sunday," Tripathi said.
Cable operators across the city are unhappy with the move to mandate set top boxes, dubbing it as unrealistic and against the interest of the consumers.
According to some consumers, the operators are creating unnecessary hindrances.