Hyderabad: Theatre owners and movie exhibitors have reminded the state government about the implementation of its promise of a relief package for the industry and urged the government to at least allow them to collect a parking fee from vehicle owners.
After the prolonged Covid-19 lockdowns, theatres were allowed to resume shows with 50 per cent occupancy from December 4. They were permitted to have full occupancy from February 12. Be it the movie ‘Tenet’ that was screened from December 4 or ‘Uppena’ that hit the screens on February 12, more and more people have started reaching movie theatres to watch films.
About 80 per cent of the total 550 theatres are currently functioning in the state, say owners.
According to Balgovind Raj, joint secretary of the Telangana Film Chamber of Commerce, who also owns a theatre at RTC crossroads, the state government announced a relief package to the theatre industry on November 24, shortly before the GHMC elections. “Till now, nothing has come of it. We have been asking for waiver of demand charges on electricity bills during the lockdown period, and even that did not happen.”
He appealed to the government that the owners be allowed to collect at least the nominal parking charges. “It is Rs 20 for a bike for three hours. Despite losses and increase in operational costs, we also have to pay taxes as these are commercial properties,” he said.
Sunil Narang of Asian Theatres said, “When the properties are paying high rates of taxes, they should at least be allowed to charge nominal parking fees. That helps us get some revenue, at least to pay salaries to the parking attendants and meet sundry expenses. Theatres are already in a bad state in terms of earnings. The overheads of salaries, interest on bank loans and other maintenance charges are heavy.”...