Cinema theatre, multiplex owners seek relief in taxes
LUCKNOW: State multiplex and single screen theatre owners have demanded waiver in fixed electricity charges, house tax and water tax to meet the losses they suffered during the two-month lockdown. The UP Cinema Exhibitors’ Federation, the body of all the multiplexes and single screens across the state that has also met chief minister Yogi Adityanath in the context of their demands, said that in the recent lockdown, cinema hall owners suffered losses of around ₹1500 crore.
“There is no business at all. If we talk about the recent lockdown that was more than 70-day-long, we suffered losses of more than ₹1500 crores. Also, there is no business in the market since there are so many restrictions, including weekly lockdown, late evening curfew and 50 per cent gathering cap. All these factors are making business a no-profit affair,” said Ashish Agarwal, president of the federation.
Agarwal said there was also no relief from the government in terms of taxes. “Be it water tax, house tax or the fixed electricity charges, we are being charged for everything even if there is complete lockdown or no business. We had also met the UP CM in this regard who assured all possible help, but no help has reached us so far,” he added.
On the re-opening of the multiplexes and single screens, he said the closure was for an indefinite period, until things get streamlined. “As of now, things are not in our favour. Hence it has been decided that the multiplexes and single screens would remain closed,” he said.
The UP Government had ordered reopening of multiplexes and single screen halls from July 5 onwards. However, they remained closed. The owners cited weekend lockdown and late evening curfew behind the prolonged closure. The closure of single screen halls and multiplexes was initiated on May 1, 2021 in the wake of the second Covid-19 wave.
In 2020, the closure of multiplexes was initiated on March 15, in the first corona wave and was lifted on October 15, allowing them to open but with 50 per cent gathering. The government eventually allowed the multiplexes and cinema theatres to operate with full capacity on December 16, 2020.