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MUMBAI: A delegation of carriers, theater owners and film operators met with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday to demand concessions such as permission to levy service charges on movie tickets and an exemption from taxes and license fees to compensate for the loss of income caused by the pandemic.
The meetings were attended by NCP chief Sharad Pawar. Carriers, including bus, tempo, truck and tanker operators, have requested an exemption from the annual motor vehicle tax, an exemption from the tax on vehicles transported to schools and places of worship; and provisions for parking spaces statewide. They also demanded the lifting of the 10 to 16 hour ban on entry of heavy goods vehicles into major cities and the reduction of the powers of the police to inspect public service vehicles.
Thackeray said a solution will be worked out to deal with the crisis they are facing. He also asked the administration to ensure adequate parking spaces for these vehicles and also said that trauma centers will be set up at the checkpoints.
Maharashtra Chairman Rajya Truck Tempo Tankers Bus Vahatuk Mahasangh, Prasanna Patwardhan, said: “We are expecting a lot of help from the government as carriers and bus operators face enormous difficulties due to of the Covid-19 pandemic and diesel inflation. We are pleased that the CM has agreed to set up trauma care and other facilities at 22 border checkpoints in Maharashtra. This will really help the carriers to obtain emergency medical care for serious accidents on highways in addition to providing parking facilities, etc.
Another delegation from the Association of Cinema Owners and Operators demanded that the state grant concessions for the renewal of licenses as well as the free renewal of cinema licenses, and the authorization to collect a service charge of Rs 25 per ticket. He also called for an easing of restrictions on the occupancy limit, which has been set at 50% for each show. Movie theaters were allowed to reopen in the state from October 22.
“Unless full occupancy is allowed in theaters, big budget movies will not be shown because they will not be financially feasible at that time. The industry will not return to normal unless mega movies don’t come out and start doing pre-Covid business, ”said Prakash Chapalkar, secretary. from the Multiplex Association of India.
Thackeray said appropriate solutions will be worked out in coordination with the finance department to address the issues of single screen theaters facing financial difficulties. He urged movie theater owners to impose security checks, including on power grids, before reopening for screenings.
(With contributions from Chittaranjan Tembhekar)