Thiruvananthapuram: In a move to help the film industry in the state, the Kerala government on Monday decided to waive entertainment tax for cinemas from January to March 2021 along with a 50 % reduction in the fixed charges on electricity during the lockdown period since March last year.
The decision was taken after Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce officials met chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan here.
“The state government has decided to exempt cinema theatres from entertainment tax from January to March 2021. The government has also decided to reduce the fixed charges by 50%,” the chief minister’s office said in a release.
In the meeting, it was also decided that the property tax, which should have been paid to local bodies before March 31, 2020, can be paid in monthly instalments. The government also informed that it cannot take any decision on the professional tax.
“The validity of various licenses for the cinemas from the local bodies, electrical inspectorate films division, building fitness, health, and fire force have been extended till March 31,” the state government said.
The meeting was chaired by the chief minister and attended by power minister, M M Mani, minister for local self-government, A C Moideen, Kerala State Electricity Board chairman, N. S. Pillai, among others.
“The chief minister understood the difficulties faced by the film fraternity and assured us of all the help.”
“With such an assurance in hand, our organisations will meet at Ernakulam today itself and decide on the opening of the cinemas,” Antony Perumbavur, a producer and officer bearer of one of the film associations, told reporters after the meeting.
Earlier, the state government had lifted restrictions on theatres and said it could be opened from January 5 with only 50% occupancy and adhering to strict COVID-19 guidelines.
Top actors Mammootty and Mohanlal besides popular stars including Manju Warrier, Prithviraj Sukumaran, Asif Ali, Kunchacko Boban, Dulquer Salmaan, Nivin Pauly, Tovino Thomas, and Dileep took to social media and thanked the chief minister for announcing concessions for the film industry.
Mohanlal expressed his heartfelt gratitude to Vijayan for announcing “concessions to energise Malayalam cinema”.
Mammootty said the move could revive the Malayalam film industry, which had been in crisis.
“Lots of respect going out to our Honorable Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan for his efforts to breathe life back into the struggling Malayalam film industry,” Dulquer Salmaan posted on Facebook.
The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone and I sincerely hope his efforts will help pull everyone in the industry back on their feet,” he added.