Bengali Films Stare at Imminent Crisis

RBN Web Desk: In a decision that could have a far reaching impact on the production and distribution of films in West Bengal, president of Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA) Krishna Daga, has announced that Bengali films may not be released in the state in the coming days.

The additional seven percent General Service Tax (GST) is being cited as the biggest villain in this regard.

According to Daga, cinema hall owners have been paying the additional GST from their pockets for the past seven months, which has now become a burden on them.

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The state government had earlier said that only two percent GST will be levied on ticket sales of Bengali films. The balance seven percent would have to be borne by hall owners which the government promised to refund.

However, even after seven months of that promise, hall owners have not received any refund from the state government.

Managing director of Priya Entertainment, Arijit Dutta, said that they will be compelled to stop exhibiting Bengali films if the government doesn’t start the refund immediately. Hall owners are staring at a huge financial loss, he added.

The refund due to hall owners has reportedly exceeded ₹10 crore.

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EIMPA executive committee member, Shyamal Chanda, said that hall owners had to pay two percent tax before GST was implemented. The state government promised exhibitors to refund seven percent GST after the Centre revised the rate to nine percent. The state government must refund the due GST in 15 days time, failing which, hall owners would have no option but levy nine percent in taxes on ticket sales. It has become impossible for exhibitors to bear the additional taxes for an indefinite time, Chanda added.

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