Chennai: More than 1,100 cinema theatres across Tamil Nadu downed their shutters on Monday protesting “double taxation” by the state government after GST came into force and the strike would continue even on Tuesday, incurring a loss of `50 crore per day.
Efforts by the Tamil Nadu Government, Producers' Council and Nadigar Sangam to defuse the crisis the whole of Monday did not move the cinema theatre owners who refused to budge from their stand and made it clear that the strike would continue till the time the state administration passes an order withdrawing levy of municipal tax.
“We met the Chief Minister and officials along with members and office-bearers of the Nadigar Sangam and briefed them about the current situation. Later, we also held a separate meeting with officials but no decision has been arrived at. Though we are hopeful of a positive outcome, we are not calling off the strike as of now,” Abirami Ramanathan, president of Tamil Nadu Film Chamber of Commerce, told Deccan Chronicle.
The theatre owners are protesting against levy of 30 per cent municipal tax along with 18 per cent GST for tickets below Rs 100 and 28 per cent GST for tickets above Rs 100. They want the “double taxation” to end since paying tax to both the government and the municipal body would not be possible due to higher rates of tax.
“We are not against GST and we have been making it clear every now and then. We are all for GST, but we want concession from the state government since governments in neighbouring states have agreed to demands of theatre owners and waived off local taxes. Cinema owners will have to pay only GST,” Mr Ramanathan said.
Theatre owners across the state would lose Rs 45 to Rs 50 crore per day and losses would be more during the weekend if the strike continues.
While a ticket of Rs 100 would cost Rs 118 in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the same would be Rs 148 in Tamil Nadu. The state government also stepped in to solve the crisis with finance minister D.. Jayakumar saying that a “amicable solution” would be found soon.
Meanwhile, Producers' Council president Vishal, who took objection to the strike on day 1, held extensive talks with Jayakumar along with his office bearers to reach a positive conclusion. The producers' say theatres downing their shutters would cause them loses....