Lucknow: Over 7.50 lakh cable TV sets went blank in seven major cities of Uttar Pradesh on Monday, a day after the deadline to get set top boxes installed expired.

In state capital Lucknow, more than two lakh TVs blanked out. Another 5.46 lakh TVs fell silent in six other cities of Uttar Pradesh namely Kanpur (1.5 lakh), Agra (1.5 lakh), Varanasi (70,000), Allahabad (62,000), Ghaziabad (60,000) and Meerut (54,000).

Officials said there was little they could do as it was the central government's policy to digitize television.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had last week written to Minister of Information and Broadcasting Manish Tiwari, seeking deferment of the March 31 deadline by another six months.

While Yadav had cited the deadline as a potential threat to law and order in the state, Tiwari did not respond to the letter, officials said.

With the existing analog transmission in seven Uttar Pradesh cities dead now, there is chaos as the set top boxes are in short supply and are being sold at hiked rates.

Under phase II of the digitization process, seven cities -- Varanasi, Lucknow, Agra, Kanpur, Ghaziabad, Meerut and Allahabad -- were selected. In these cities, cable TV transmission snapped March 31 midnight and is now only available through the digital addressable system.

(Agencies)

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