Vijayawada: Cinema hall owners seek electricity charges, property tax relief
With the permission given by the Union government to re-open theatres and multiplex from October 15 as part of Unlock 5, the film exhibitors in Andhra Pradesh are getting ready to screen movies after a gap of seven months.
Vijayawada: With the permission given by the Union government to re-open theatres and multiplex from October 15 as part of Unlock 5, the film exhibitors in Andhra Pradesh are getting ready to screen movies after a gap of seven months.
But the process seems to be little complicated as the lockdown had huge impact on the income of exhibitors and they lost revenue due to closure of cinema halls. Secondly, no new films are ready as shootings are progressing slowly. About 80 films are in the various stages of production in two Telugu states and would be completed only around December or January.
Normally, Dasara time would see new releases with heavy rush as people would visit theatres with families. But with more than 7,000 Covid cases being reported in Andhra Pradesh every day, and restrictions like maximum viewers should not exceed 200 per show can hamper the revenue of cinema halls. Some cinema halls in cities have capacity up to 700.
Another problem they face is the problem of paying electricity bills. On average, each theatre has to pay between Rs 40,000 and Rs 1 lakh electricity charges per month depending on the seating capacity and number of shows they screen every day. Many cinema hall owners are not in a position to pay the power bills for the lockdown period and want the government to waive off the power charges. They had even submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. They are also seeking exemption of GST.
The waiver will give a big relief to the exhibitors, said T Sai Surya Prasad, secretary of the Vijayawada film chamber. "The exhibitors are requesting the local bodies across the state to give waiver on property tax for the lockdown period. There is GO of the State government to get waiver on property tax when there was natural calamity or disaster, he said.
R V Bhupal Prasad, the owner of the Navrang theatre, one of the oldest in the city, said he was spending nearly Rs 1 lakh every month on electricity bills, sanitisation, cleaning of theatre and salaries to the workers, in spite of the lockdown.