Updated: January 11, 2021 7:38:34 pm
In a move to help the film industry in the state, the Kerala government on Monday decided to waive entertainment tax for theatres from January to March 2021 along with 50 per cent reduction in the fixed charges on electricity during the lockdown period since March last year.
The decision was taken after Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce officials met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in Thiruvananthapuram.
“The state government has decided to exempt cinema theatres from entertainment tax from January to March 2021. The government has also decided to reduce the fixed charges by 50 per cent,” the chief minister’s office said in a release.
In the meeting, it was also decided that the property tax, which should have been paid to local bodies before March 31, 2020, can be paid in monthly installments. The government also informed that it cannot take any decision on the professional tax.
“The validity of various licenses for the cinemas from the local bodies, electrical inspectorate films division, building fitness, health, fire force have been extended till March 31,” the state government said.
The meeting was chaired by the chief minister and attended by Power minister M M Mani, Minister for local self-government, A C Moideen, Kerala State Electricity Board Chairman N S Pillai, among others.
“The chief minister understood the difficulties faced by the film fraternity and assured us of all the help. With such an assurance in hand, our organisations will meet at Ernakulam today itself and decide on the opening of cinemas,” Antony Perumbavoor, a producer and officer bearer of one of the film associations, told reporters after the meeting.
Earlier, the state government had lifted restrictions on theatres and said it could be opened from January 5 with only 50 per cent occupancy and adhering to strict COVID-19 guidelines. However, the Kerala Film Chamber Of Commerce (KFCC) decided to keep the theatres shut in defiance until their demands were met by the government. Now that KFCC’s crucial demands to resume film exhibition have been granted by the government, theatres are expected to reopen soon.
Mammootty, Mohanlal, Manju Warrier, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Asif Ali, Kunchacko Boban, Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly, Tovino Thomas and Dileep took to social media and thanked the chief minister for announcing concessions for the film industry.
Mohanlal expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the CM for announcing “concessions to energise Malayalam cinema”.
Mammootty said the move could revive the Malayalam film industry which was in crisis.
“Lots of respect going out to our Honorable Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan for his efforts to breathe life back into the struggling Malayalam film industry,” Dulquer Salmaan posted on Facebook.
“The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone and I sincerely hope his efforts will help pull everyone in the industry back on their feet,” he added.
The latest development is sure to bring some cheers to the fans of Vijay, whose film Master is set to hit screens on January 13. Till today, a cloud of uncertainty was looming over the film’s release in Kerala due to the impasse between the government and the KFCC.
Efforts are also on to sort the payment issues between the distributors and exhibitors. According to reports, theatre owners owe about Rs 16 crore to producers over films that were released before the pandemic.
(With inputs from Entertainment Desk)
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