Theatres seek service charge on tickets, transporters eye tax sop | Mumbai News

MUMBAI: A delegation each of transporters and theatre owners and film exhibitors met chief minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday seeking concessions such as permission to levy a service charge on cinema tickets and exemption from taxes and licence fees to offset pandemic-induced losses in revenue.
The meetings were attended by NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The transporters including bus, tempo, truck, tanker operators sought exemption from annual motor vehicle tax, waiver of motor tax on vehicles transporting to schools and religious places, and provisions for parking spaces across the state. They also demanded lifting of the 10 to 16-hour ban on entry of heavy vehicles in major cities and reduction of police powers to inspect public service vehicles.
Thackeray said a solution will be worked out to address the crisis faced by them. He also directed the administration to ensure adequate parking spots of these vehicles and also said trauma centres will be set up at check posts.
Maharashtra Rajya Truck Tempo Tankers Bus Vahatuk Mahasangh president Prasanna Patwardhan said: “We expect lot of relief measures from government as transporters and bus operators are facing huge difficulties due to Covid-19 pandemic and diesel inflation. We are glad that the CM agreed to set up trauma care and other facilities at 22 border check posts of Maharashtra. It will really help transporters in getting urgent medical care during serious mishaps on highways besides offering facilities for parking etc.”
Another delegation of the Cinema Owners and Exhibitors Association demanded that the state provide concessions for renewal of licenses as well as free renewal of cinema licenses, and permission to levy a service charge of Rs 25 per ticket. It has also sought easing of restrictions on the occupancy limit, which has been set at 50% for each show. Cinema halls have been allowed to re-open in the state from October 22.
“Unless full occupancy is allowed in halls, large budget movies will not be released as they will not be financially feasible then. The industry will not come to normalcy unless mega movies release and start doing pre-Covid business,” said Prakash Chaphalkar, secretary of Multiplex Association of India.
Thackeray said appropriate solutions will be worked out in coordination with the finance department to address issues of single-screen cinema halls that are facing financial difficulties. He urged theatre owners to mandate safety checks, including on electric networks, before reopening for screenings.
(With inputs from Chittaranjan Tembhekar)