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UP govt to revive defunct cinema halls

Fifteen years ago, there were almost 1,000 standalone halls in UP, which have now reduced to about 460 with the advent of multiplexes

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

The is preparing a plan to revive defunct throughout the state.

Fifteen years back, there were almost 1,000 standalone halls in the state, which have now reduced to about 460 with the advent of

"We are in the process of consultations towards formulating a policy for their revival. We would be holding meetings with all stakeholders," Uttar Pradesh principal secretary, commercial and entertainment tax, Viresh Kumar told Business Standard.

The government is also considering allowing cinema hall owners to use their spaces/land for other purposes in case they decide to close down their units due to losses or other reasons.

"All such issues would be deliberated upon in due course before arriving at any conclusion towards such a scheme," Kumar informed.

Uttar Pradesh minister of state for entertainment tax, Tej Narain Pandey, had recently directed officials for formulating an incentive scheme for the revival of defunct and resolution of cable TV operators' grievances.

About a month back, the exhibitors' association had met Pandey, urging him to provide government support to the existing standalone halls.

"We support the cause of the defunct However, in the present situation, the state government should first try to prop up the existing units lest they also close down," Lucknow Cinema Exhibitors Association president and Uttar Pradesh Cinema Exhibitors Federation general secretary Ashish Agarwal said.

He said of the 460 odd existing halls, almost 360 were on the verge of closure due to wafer-thin margins.

Only those standalone cinema halls, which screen new movies and number around 100 in the state, are in good financial health, while the rest of the units are slowly turning sick, he claimed.

The exhibitors have demanded the entertainment tax in Uttar Pradesh, which is the highest in India, at 40 per cent on gross ticket value, should be lowered to 20 per cent on net value, like Delhi.

In their memo to the minister, the exhibitors had also demanded that cinema maintenance charges be allowed to be hiked from Rs 3/ticket to Rs 6/ticket. "The air conditioning and air cooling charges should be doubled to Rs 2 and Rs 1 respectively," Agarwal added.

The hall owners have been demanding they be allowed to turn their properties into commercial or other real estate proposition, if they decide to close down.

First Published: Mon, September 02 2013. 20:50 IST