It may not be able to ensure 24-hour power supply to rural areas but the Punjab government has ambitious plans to set up cinema halls in the state's villages.
"The Punjab government has decided to set up cinema halls in villages to provide entertainment facilities in rural areas. It has also decided to institute annual film awards to the tune of Rs. one crore in various categories," Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal announced in New Delhi Saturday.
Badal was speaking during deliberations on the film policy for Punjab drafted by National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) with its chairman Ramesh Sippy.
He said that the new film policy would come up within two months and include the concept of rural cinema halls.
The rural cinema halls will have one or two screens with capacity of 100 seats or more. Punjab has over 12,000 villages.
"It will help in entertainment of rural masses at low cost and provide impetus to production of more Punjabi and other language films in the state," Badal claimed.
To give a boost to Punjabi films, which have shown a revival in the past decade, Badal said that from 2014, the Punjab government would award quality films, producers, actors and others with awards up to Rs.1 crore.
Inviting film producers to shoot films in Punjab, Badal offered to initiate various incentives, strategic support and facilitating single window clearance for the entire shooting process, besides post productions facilities also.
He said a film training institute would be set up in Mohali, adjoining Chandigarh, with the help of NFDC.
"Films not only help generate revenue, they also have the potential to boost local tourism and trade," Badal said.