TN theatres remain shut for 2nd day; industry insiders claim

Mumbai: Nearly 1,000 cinema halls across Tamil Nadu today remained shut for the second consecutive day protesting the imposition of 30 per cent local body tax in addition to GST even as the issue figured in the assembly.

Industry sources said about Rs 20-25 crore worth of business was lost.

Tamil Nadu theatre owners go on strike after GST, lose Rs 50 crore a day

An industry representative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told PTI that they had discussed the matter with the state government yesterday.

"We were told that discussions will continue today. We are awaiting a decision from the government," he said. The issue figured in the state assembly with the opposition raising it.

"They (Cinema industry representatives) had met the Chief Minister (K Palaniswami) yesterday, but still theatres are shut. Why," DMK Leader Durai Murugan asked.

Congress Legislature Party leader K R Ramasamy also raised the issue.

Responding, Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani assured that the government would give due consideration to problems of all sections of people.

"Talks are going on," he said.

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Going ahead with their strike announced on June 30 on the eve of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout, the exhibitors have shut their halls since yesterday citing their 'inability' to pay both taxes.

Besides the local tax, a GST of 18 per cent has been fixed for tickets priced below Rs 100 and 28 per cent for those above Rs 100.

"We are against the Corporation (entertainment) Tax which is 30 per cent. This is in addition to the GST rates (of upto 28 per cent). We are not against the GST. We welcome it," Tamil Nadu Theatre Owners and Distributors Association

President Abhirami Ramanathan had said.

Representatives of the association and others, including South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, South Indian Artistes' Association (SIAA) and Tamil Film Producers Council, had met Palaniswami over the tax issue.

They had also met state Finance Minister D Jayakumar, who had assured them that the government was with them and the matter required a decision at policy level.

Expressing solidarity, city-based exhibitor AGS Cinemas Chief Executive Officer Archana Kalpathi today said their cinema halls would be closed in deference to the decision taken by the association.

"We respect the decision made by the film Chamber association. AGS Cinemas will be closed across all locations," she said in a tweet.

"Collectively our industry has been floundering for many years. We hope and pray the TN government gives us the lifeline we so badly need," she added.

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