THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Asianet Group, comprising Asianet Satellite Communication Pvt Ltd and Asianet Digital Network Pvt Ltd, has agreed to pay Rs19.38 crore to KSEB Ltd for the current financial year ending March 31, 2021 as the annual rental for using the latter’s poles, according to a KSEBL document.
Asianet and KSEBL will be signing the agreement soon towards this. The channel major with the largest viewership among the news channels in the state currently uses 3.83 lakh poles in urban areas and 2.27 lakh poles in the rural areas.
While both parties have agreed on a payment pattern of Rs390 as rental for each urban pole, the rural poles will attract Rs195 annually as rental, with an agreed increment per year of five per cent.
Asianet, which is in the ‘pole position’ by virtue of being the ‘first mover’ among the Kerala’s private channels, started the association with KSE Board right from its launch on November 20, 1992 by drawing cables through the electric poles of KSEB for a period of 10 years.
Though the initial agreement of 1991 was renewed up to March 31, 2011, a fresh agreement was not executed since then between Asianet and KSE Board, and Asianet continued to utilize the poles of KSE Board and the payment of pole rental for the period from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2015 had been made by Asianet as per the demands raised by the Electrical Division Offices of KSEB Ltd.
There was confusion with regard to the number poles used by Asianet as did in the absence of a proper agreement that governs the payment.
However, a joint inspection has already addressed the issue of fixing the number of poles as well as how the rental should be computed in the future periods.