VIJAYAWADA: To bail out ailing cinema theatre managements in the State, the government on Tuesday announced a relief package, including waiving of fixed power charges for three months and providing interest subvention scheme.The State government decided to waive off fixed electricity charges for April, May and June 2020 and deferred payment of fixed electricity charges for a period of six months—from July 2020 to December 2020—for all theatres, including multiplexes.
The government will provide 50 per cent interest subvention, subject to a maximum limit of 4.5 per cent per annum for loans availed by cinema theatres from banks. The maximum loan amount for which interest subvention will be given is Rs 10 lakhs for A and B centres and Rs five lakhs for ‘C’ centres. The interest subvention will be applicable for a period of one year after a moratorium of six months. This package, however, is not applicable to multiplexes.
Issuing a GO to this effect, ex-officio special secretary to government (I&PR) T Vijay Kumar Reddy said the Telugu film industry had requested the government to extend relief to the industry. Due to the adverse impact of the pandemic, the cinema theatres, multiplexes, film studios were forced to shut and shootings and film making coming to a grinding halt, he said.This has caused a financial strain on all stakeholders (producers, distributors, cinema theatre owners, and ancillary units dependent on film industry directly or indirectly).
With all kind of activities coming to a grinding halt, cinema theatres, multiplexes and others aren’t in a position to pay salaries to their workers and an estimated 70 per cent workers have lost their livelihood. It may be recalled that in June last, Telugu Film Chamber of Commerce (TFCC) representatives called on Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and requested him to extend relief to the film industry. The government has decided to revive the ailing film industry since it contributes to the State exchequer in the form of State GST, besides providing livelihood to scores of people.
“All the cinema theatres are not functioning from March 22, 2020 in Andhra Pradesh.Though permission has been granted to the theatres to re-open from October 15, 2020, the theatres are not functioning,’’ the government stated and announced the Relief Package to help the industry and its stake holders resume operations.Raj & Yuvaraj Theatres manager D Srikanth welcomed the government’s decision to waive off the fixed electricity bills for April, May and June 2020 and said that it is a big relief for the theatre managements.
Srikanth also appealed to the government to waive off the electricity bills till November 2020. “Steps should be also taken by the government to waive off the property tax levied during the lockdown period, considering our plight,” he said.B Ram Babu, manager of Ramagopal theatre said he was spending around Rs 1 lakh every month on electricity bills and sanitation alone in view of Covid-19.“From Sankranti, the theatres are operating with nominal crowds following movie releases of major actors. A major chunk of the revenue earned goes towards payment of monthly electrical bills and theatre maintenance. Hence, we request the government to waive off the power bills from July to November,” he said.
Welcoming the relief package offered by the State government, actor Chiranjeevi tweeted, “My hearty thanks to Hon’ble CM Shri. @ysjagan for the much deserved relief measures for the Film Industry during Covid times. Your sympathetic support will help several thousands of families dependent on this industry.’’