The Dehradun Municipal Corporation (DMC) has failed to revise the cinema show taxes in the city for over two decades now.
Despite sizeable hike in ticket rates over the years - especially in the multiplexes - the civic body has failed to revise the tax rates, leading to meagre collections and significant revenue losses annually.
At present, the DMC charges R10/R20 per show from single/multiple screen cinema halls respectively. In May last year, the local body had initiated the process of revising the show tax rates whereby the working member committee of the DMC proposed a drastic increase -- R2500 and R5000 for single-screen cinema halls and multiplexes per show respectively in the rates. However, after the corporators objected the 'steep' rise in the rates, a study was commissioned to examine the rates and propose fresh, 'reasonable' rates. But, more than eight months later, it is yet to take a final call in the matter.
There are 11 cinema halls in the city, including four multiplexes and seven single screen halls in Dehradun.
"Cinema halls, especially the multiplexes, are charging high ticket rates but the DMC has not been able to increase the show tax accordingly, leading to revenue losses worth lakhs every year. No further delay should be made in fixing practical rates -- they should be neither too low nor too high to ensure optimum revenue boosting of the DMC," said Sushil Gupta, senior corporator from ward Lakhibagh.
According to statistics provided by the DMC, the civic body's earnings from show tax have been quite nominal over the years. In 2012-13, it earned R3.63 lakh from the cinema show taxes while the figure stood slightly higher (at R4.15 lakh) during 2013-14. By the first half of the current financial year, the civic body had earned by R3.68 lakh whereas its total target for 2014-15 is that of R10 lakh.
Meanwhile, Bhim Munjal, vice president of Garhwal Division Cinema Exhibitors' Association, said the civic body had failed to provide adequate civic services and so acute rise in show taxes was uncalled for. "Moreover, some cinema halls, particularly the single screen ones, have been witnessing a relatively low phase in business over the past few years. So, whatever the new rates would be, they should be decided by the DMC after much though and consideration," Munjal said.
City mayor Vinod Chamoli said revision of cinema show taxes has been held up because the process of bylaws creation in this regard was underway. "The bylaws in this regard are being formulated at present after which the new proposed rates would be announced publicly," he said adding the DMC was trying to speed up the process. He, however, assured the new rates would not be finalised without inviting objections from the related stakeholders.
"Cinema hall owners would be free to put in their objections once we announce the rate. The final rates would then be fixed only after public hearing and approval of the rates from the DMC board," he said.