Superstar Rajinikanth on Wednesday made an appeal to the Tamil Nadu government to remove the 30% local body tax levied in addition to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) as nearly 1,000 cinema halls remain shut inthe state due to the stand-off.
The issue has also been raised by veteran actor Kamal Haasan who hit outat the state government for not backing the "already beleaguered" film industry. "Neighbouring states like Kerala have totally desisted from levying anymore state tax on cinema over and above GST.... Karnataka hasgone even further to facilitate the well-being of the film industry. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are also doing their best for their film industries. It is only the Tamil Nadu government that has brought it (entertainment tax) to 30%," the actor had said in a statement.
Going ahead with their strike announced on June 30 on the eve of the GST rollout, the exhibitors have shut their halls citing their 'inability' to pay both taxes. Besides the local tax, a GST of 18 per cent has been fixed for tickets priced below Rs 100 and 28 per cent for those above Rs 100.
The issue has also figured in the state assembly with the opposition raising it. "They (Cinema industry representatives) had met the Chief Minister (K Palaniswami) yesterday, but still theatres are shut. Why," DMK Leader Durai Murugan asked. Congress Legislature Party leader K R Ramasamy also raised the issue. Responding, Municipal Administration Minister SP Velumani assured that the government would give due consideration to problems of all sections of people. "Talks are going on," he said.
Representatives of the association and others, including South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, South Indian Artistes' Association (SIAA) and Tamil Film Producers Council, had met Palaniswami over the tax issue.