The Multiplex Association of India has decided to go on an indefinite strike in Chennai starting Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 after a local body announced that there will be Entertainment Tax on tickets on top of the existing GST. The decision for strike came after the notification of the local body to levy extra tax which didn’t go down well with the multiplexes. “MAI believes that this levy of LBET by the Chennai Corporation leads to double taxation on an industry which is already reeling under the impact of high tax rates and piracy, and could well sound the death knell of the film industry,” a statement from the association read.
MAI President Deepak Asher appealed to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and GCC Commissioner to consider their request to withdraw the LBET levied on the film exhibition industry in Chennai immediately. “We believe such withdrawal will ensure the survival of the film industry and will support an environment of safe, secure and wholesome entertainment option for the population of Chennai. On the other hand, continuance of an LBET in addition to GST will render cinema exhibition unviable and will eventually kill the film industry,” Asher said.
“This is shocking.Will the government ensure to curb piracy completely if we pay the 10% tax? We will accept it if the government can assure that. We will submit a plea soon to the government,” said Tamil Film Producers’ Council President and Nadigar Sangham General Secretary Vishal who has been putting in his best efforts to eradicate piracy.
Even the Producers Guild of India affirmed its support to the decision of the multiplex cinema chains in Chennai. Siddharth Roy Kapur, President of the Producers Guild of India, said: “The decision of Tamil Nadu government to impose LBET to GST on cinema tickets is a highly retrograde step and the Producers Guild of India urges the Tamil Nadu government to withdraw this regressive tax at the earliest in the larger interests of all sectors of the Indian film industry.“