The Jharkhand government has proposed several incentives to revive cinema halls in the state that have shut down due to dipping profits. At least half a dozen cinema halls in Ranchi have closed down, apart from many in other parts of the state. And 30 percent of the closures took place in the last five years.
Hall owners say that running a cinema hall is no longer a profitable business. They point out that taxes and declining numbers of viewers are the main cause for their losses. The state government has announced relaxation of entertainment taxes and is promoting hall owners to construct multiplexes like in other states.
The urban development department is also considering waiving off the upper limit of ticket prices so that cinema hall owners get returns on their investment.
"At present, the upper limit of tickets is fixed at Rs.60. When the limit will be removed, owners can fix their rates according to the condition of the halls," said an official.
Welcoming this move, Bullu Narasia, a film distributor here, said: "If the government removes the upper limit, it will force hall owners to reopen and renovate their halls. The owners will be able to get back their investment."
He also welcomed the government decision last week to relax entertainment taxes.
The government decision to relax taxes operates at three levels. Firstly, if a closed cinema hall is reopened, it will enjoy nine months tax holiday.
Secondly, if a closed cinema hall is reopened after renovation, it will enjoy a tax holiday of two years. Thirdly, if a running cinema hall goes in for renovation, it will enjoy a 15-month tax holiday.
The urban development department is also planning tax relief to those who plan to construct multiplexes. Multiplex owners will be given five years tax relaxation in Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro and Dhanbad. In other districts, the tax relaxation period will be for seven years.