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Film industry against Uttarakhand govt decision

india Updated: Aug 17, 2010 18:19 IST
Anupam Trivedi

What is termed as an illegal activity seems to be legal in Uttarakhand. The film industry for long has been raising voice against the illegal public broadcasting of films and songs on local cable channels but the Uttarakhand government appears to be ‘comfortable’ with the idea.

Uttarakhand cabinet on Tuesday decided to take ‘entertainment tax’ from cable operators for showing feature films, video albums and advertisements on the local channels. “Cable operators will be charged Rs 2000 every week for airing films, music videos and advertisements on the local channels” told NS Napalchiyal, chief secretary. He said this amount would be charged from the cable operators other than that what they have been paying for airing channels.

Nevertheless government plans to collect huge sum as tax from cable operators for airing films and songs on local channels but the film and broadcasting industry has come against the decision. “Industry for long has been fighting against the broadcasting of films on local channels but it is strange to learn that in spite of controlling such activity, Uttarakhand government is on the way of legalizing such illegal move” said noted film director Tigmanshu Dhulia while speaking with Hindustan Times over phone from Mumbai.

Dhulia said he will have a word with the leaders of film industry and thus would act accordingly against the cabinet’s decision. He also fears the state’s decision may open Pandora box and other states may follow the suit.

It is learnt as per copyright rules showing or airing films and videos on local channels without prior permission of the producer or without reaching an agreement with the party is termed as an offence. Even the film CD’s carries the message clearly.

Uttarakhand Producers Association (UPA), a body of Uttarakhand based producers and directors have also expressed ‘surprise’ over the cabinet’s verdict. “We were indeed planning to give memorandum to government to take measures so that local cable operators do not air our video CD’s as they are severly affecting our revenues” said Mohan Lakhera of UPA and Managing Director of Himalayan Films. Lakhera added the Association would meet this week and decide future course.