SAMBALPUR: The multiplex in the only mall in the town, City Centre, is yet to open even as its construction has been completed since January.
Though its operator Eyelax Films had scheduled to open the multiplex on January 26, it failed to do so as the district administration did not issue the licence.
The town used to have three cinema halls - Ashoka Talkies, Laxmi Talkies and Gaiety Talkies- till pirated CD market spelled doom for their owners. While encroachment by locals forced the Kerala-based owner of the Gaiety Talkies to sell the land to a real estate owner, others are running with old infrastructure. In absence of any option, cine lovers flock the Ashoka and Laxmi Talkies.
Meanwhile, the land of Ashoka Talkies has been sold for construction of a mall.
At present, film lovers have to go to Jharsuguda to watch movie in two multiplexes spread across the town or the only multiplex in Bargarh town.
The district administration had formed a committee comprising Collector, Additional District Magistrate, SP, Electrical Inspector, Fire Officer, Executive Engineer of WESCO and PHED, representatives of CPWD, Secretary of Sambalpur Development Authority (SDA) to look into the operation of the multiplex. The committee refused to issue licence.
Official sources said initially the promoters had violated Section 8(3) of Odisha Cinema Act under which `600 had to be deposited. Subsequently, the promoters complied and even availed the necessary permissions from the SDA including building plan. Still the promoters were not issued permission to open the multiplex.
On May 17, they took up the matter with the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (North Division) who directed the Collector to issue licence and allow the multiplex to operate within two months.
Although a meeting of the Committee was scheduled to be held on July 7, the Collector said it was postponed as all the members were not present. While nobody is sure when Committee will meet next, the fate of the multiplex continues to hang fire.
Contacted, promoter of the City Centre said they have obtained all the requisite permission and clearance for the building including fire, electrical, SDA and all other statutory bodies. It is now upto the Collector when he would issue the licence for operating the multiplex, he added.