Prakash Javadekar: Opening of theatres will be decided after reviewing Covid-19 status in June

Prakash Javadekar: Opening of theatres will be decided after reviewing Covid-19 status in June

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar, on Tuesday said the demand of opening of cinema halls will be examined after a careful review of the status of Covid-19 pandemic in the month of June. This means that the cinema halls will remain closed for at least 97 days before a call would be taken to open them.

According to a note issued by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting on June 2, the Union Minister said this while holding a video conference with Association of Film Producers, Cinema Exhibitioners and Film Industry representatives. In view of the various representations sent to it by these parties, the ministry on Tuesday convened the meeting to discuss the problems being faced by the industry in the backdrop of Covid-19.

On the issue of restarting production related activities, the Minister said that standard operating procedures are being issued by Government.

The Minister, while addressing the meeting, lauded the industry and also the fact that India has over 9,500 screens, which cumulatively generated nearly Rs 30 crore per day by way of sale of tickets of cinema halls alone. This was, of course, prior to the closing of the cinema halls in March owing to Covid-19 threat in India. In fact, the novel coronavirus pandemic forced several states including Maharashtra and Kerala to close theatres a week before India announced a complete lockdown from March 25.

Javadekar also promised to take up the specific demands of the industry with the relevant authorities. The relief sought by the industry, said the Minister, involved financial relief such as salary subsidy, interest free loans for three years, exemption on taxes and duties, waiver of minimum demand charges on electricity and electricity at industrial rates.