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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Filmmakers feel MPs should promote hill state as shooting hub

Neha Pant  Dehradun, April 15, 2014
First Published: 23:26 IST(15/4/2014) | Last Updated: 23:28 IST(15/4/2014)

Consecutive state governments have failed to promote Uttarakhand as a film shooting hub. Now, the local industry is harbouring high expectations from the soon-to-be parliamentarians to take up this cause.

The regional film fraternity want MPs to formulate policies for giving a nationwide boost to the state’s image as a popular shooting hub as well as providing a push to the ailing regional film industry.

Uttarakhand may be blessed with some of the most spectacular, virgin locations but many issues have remained unaddressed over the years by the state governments. The region’s immense potential to turn into a film-shooting hub faces several challenges on ground zero for which the associated professionals want a long-lasting solution.

Local coordinator Pankaj Sharma, who has synchronised many shoots in Uttarakhand, said, “Blessed with scenic locales, the hill state has huge potential for attracting Bollywood filmmakers. However, poor facilities and lack of incentives are some of the hurdles that discourage many of them from coming here. I hope that the next MPs will take up the matter which will set the ball rolling for more film units coming to Uttarakhand,” he said.

A host of Hindi films have been shot in the picturesque hills and dales of Uttarakhand in the past, including Student of the Year, One More, Koi Mil Gaya, Bunty Aur Babli, Kisna and Aisha.

Uttarakhandi director Pradeep Bhandari said MPs could perhaps push for improvement of basic infrastructure facilities by creating pressure on the state governments. “Since they will be representing our state, the new MPs should take up the issue actively and try to resolve the problem,” he said.

The absence of a single window clearance for shooting permissions in the state is another dampener. Line producers and local shoot coordinators are forced to run from pillar to post for weeks to procure all the required permissions before they can bring home the shooting units. “If the MPs can push for the state to have a one-point filing and processing of film shooting requests, it would be an encouragement to us,” said Dehradun-based shoot coordinator Pankaj Sharma. “It will also promote film tourism in the state in the long run,” he added.

As per the state film fraternity, the regional film industry (Garhwali and Kumaoni) lacks government support, which could be given special focus by parliamentarians. “Financial support or subsidy should be given to encourage the regional film industry. It will ensure employment opportunities to a large number of people,” SPS Negi, president of Uttarakhand Film Association, concluded.


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‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
 
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
 
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
 
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
 
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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