Krishna Daga, the chairman of the Eastern India Motion Pictures Association, on Wednesday met principal secretary of information and cultural affairs Vivek Kumar to discuss the GST issue that has been plaguing single screen theatre exhibitors. According to Daga, the meeting was very positive.
Daga had emailed state finance minister Amit Mitra, asking him to withdraw the two notifications issued by the government on June 30 and August 22 last year. A request was made to immediately refund the pending government rebate to exhibitors who have been paying the SGST from their own pocket. If the government doesn’t resolve these issues by February 15, the letter said, Bengal exhibitors will be forced to collect the entire CGST and SGST from patrons.
Contrary to rumours, the letter doesn’t threaten to stop screening Bengali filmsand only playing Hindi movies if the matter isn’t resolved by February 15.”Our exhibitors are expecting a refund of at least Rs 10 crore. My letter isn’t a threat, but an appeal. If the matter isn’t resolved by February 15, exhibitors will be forced to collect the CGST and SGST from movie-goers. Those who can’t bear the cost burden will either shut down the theatres or switch to playing Hindi movies only,” Daga said.
Navin Choukhani, owner of Navina, expects a refund of approximately Rs 5 lakh from the state. Choukhani, who has resigned from EIMPA, said: “It’s not fair to say the exhibitors will collect the CGST and SGST from patrons. That will be illegal.” Daga, however, disagreed claiming there won’t be any legal problems in taking such a step.
Incidentally, some singlescreen theatre owners in the districts have allegedly stopped giving any rebate to their patrons. They claimed that they don’t want to get into this problematic space and were neither giving any rebate to patrons nor claiming any refund from the state.
Daga said: “I am hoping that we will get a positive order on the refund from the goverment soon.”