Andhra hall owners yet to open theatres, seek exemption from power bill, taxes

Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) [India], October 16 : As the Centre allowed screening of films from Thursday, the cinema hall owners in Andhra Pradesh, who are yet to open theatres, have requested the state government to provide them exemptions from power bills and some taxes.

The theatre owners feel that it will be a huge financial burden to do business, pay salaries, taxes, etc after adhering to COVID-19 protocols like the 50 per cent occupancy, sanitation at regular intervals, and so on.
“We have asked the government to provide us some exemptions. Irrespective of screening the shows or not, we have to pay Rs 1-2 lakh for miscellaneous expenses per month, so we are unable to pay bills due to COVID. Similarly, we are unable to pay property taxes, water taxes, drainage taxes, etc,” T Sai Surya Prasad, Secretary of Vijayawada Exhibitors’ Association, told ANI.

Meanwhile, the state and central governments have issued a Standard Operating Procedure with 24 points regarding reopening of cinema halls. “We have to spend Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per day only for sanitation. Further, occupancy is allowed 50 per cent only. The maximum capacity of theatres is 200, with 50 per cent occupancy, we cannot afford to screen films at all,” Prasad added.

Another reason for the movie exhibitors to show resistance is that many big movies are still under production and they will be ready only after December. Till then only small budget movies or old films are available for screening, which they think may not yield decent collections to maintain the theatre expenses.

“There are only eight small films ready for screening. Around 40 are under production. So we are unable to exhibit films,” said the secretary of Vijayawada Exhibitors’ Association. (ANI)

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