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Inox, PVR on strike in Chennai against additional Local Body Entertainment Tax

The state government had announced that theatres will need to pay an LBET of 10% in addition to the GST (Goods and Services Tax) of 28%.

Manigandan KR

Inox and PVR multiplexes in Chennai have decided to go on strike from today, 3 October, to protest against the state government’s decision to impose an LBET (Local Body Entertainment Tax) of 10% in addition to the GST (Goods and Services Tax) of 28% already being paid by theatres.

The decision to levy an additional tax has not gone down well with multiplex owners who say the move will significantly increase the cost of cinema exhibition. They also say it goes against the 'One Nation, One Tax' policy and frustrates the GST model.

Pointing out that it would lead to the same problems that have plagued the film industry so far, the multiplex owners say the decision will invariably result in the prices of tickets being increased.

In a statement, Deepak Asher, president of the Multiplex Association of India, said, “We most humbly appeal to the chief minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswami and the commissioner of Greater Chennai Corporation D Karthigeyan to kindly consider our request favourably and 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.”

Until now, at least two major multiplexes, PVR and Inox, have downed shutters in the city in response to the state government’s decision. Other multiplexes, sources say, are in talks and will arrive at a decision on the issue by tomorrow.

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