In a complete volte-face, the Maharashtra Government on Wednesday decided to scrap the earlier Cabinet decision of levying service charge on multiplex tickets.

A decision to this effect was taken at the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

On January 16, the Cabinet had given clearance to theatre owners, so that they could levy a service charge of Rs 4 a ticket on multiplexes having digital cinema technology. Those with satellite-based technology could charge their patrons Rs 2 a ticket. Travelling cinema theatres owners could also recover Rs 1 as service charge from the patrons.

It was decided earlier that multiplex owners didn’t have to share the revenue recovered with the State Government.

The exact reason for the Government’s sudden change in mindset is not known. However, an official of the Chief Minister’s Office said the decision had received a lot of criticism. Levying service charge would have further increased ticket prices, which had led to a bevy of criticism.

The official pointed out that the State Government also did not want to anger the patrons of single screen theatres, which are predominately in semi-urban and rural areas. Therefore, the earlier decision (January 16) of providing entertainment tax holidays to these theatres would also continue.

(This article was published on January 23, 2013)
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