Kolkata, Sep 29 (PTI) The Eastern India Motion Picture Association (EIMPA) has urged the West Bengal government to address the issue of increasing service charge for showing films in single screen theatres on an urgent basis. Also Read - Mamata Ropes in Abhijit Banerjee on COVID-19 Advisory Panel For West Bengal

The service charge was last hiked in 2001 and since then the charge was Rs 3 per ticket for AC single screens, Rs 2.50 per ticket for single screens with blower machines and Rs 2 per ticket for single screens with fans, EIMPA president K N Daga said on Friday. Also Read - Coronavirus: Man Killed in West Bengal as Groups Clash Over Setting up of Quarantine Centre

He said an increase would help single screens tide over losses and buffer the present difficult situation triggered by piracy, streaming on net and coming up of multiplexes. Also Read - West Bengal: All Students of Class 1 to 8 to be Promoted to Next Class Directly

A hike was also required for the sake of proper maintenance of the single screen theatres, Daga said.

An EIMPA member said the association has suggested to the government to fix service charge for single screens to Rs 10 per ticket for halls with AC and Rs 5 per ticket for halls with blower facilities.

New rates should be fixed at a meeting attended by single screen owners, exhibitors, distributors and the government at the earliest, Daga said.

The EIMPA, which had held talks with West Bengal minister Aroop Biswas on the issue on September 26, said some of the members had proposed to go on a strike from September 28 but the strike was called off as the state government promised to look into the matter on an urgent basis.

However, If no concrete solution is emerged in another week’s time, the EIMPA will convene an emergent meeting to decide future course of action including closure of single screens as the last resort, he said.

Daga said the government had earlier taken steps like mandatory screening one Bengali film for a minimum of 120 days in a year by a plex and slashing tariff for projection of Bengali films aimed at helping the Bengali film industry.

According to EIMPA, out of 220 single screens in state, 100 may close down any day.

Kolkata has already lost prominent theatres like Metro (started in 1935), Globe (1922), Lighthouse (1938), Rupbani and Elite.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.