High taxation forcing cinema halls to close down: COEAI

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Mumbai, Feb 6 (UNI) Heavy taxation has spelt the death knell for single-screen cinemas and 2,006 such cinema halls have closed down during the last ten years, according to Cinema Owner and Exhibitor's Association of India (COEAI) president R V Vidhani.

Mr Vidhani said this at a seminar on the sidelines of Mumbai International Film Festival 2008 here today.

He said the country today has only 10,994 screens compared to China's 65,000 and USA's 36,000 screens. As per the UN recommendation, India should have one lakh screens, he said.

Mr Vidhani said that the main causes for the closure of the cinema halls are the advent of new technologies and the government policies.

As per media reports, 350 channels are already shown on television and another 100 are on the pipeline.

He said the cinema hall owners have to pay several taxes -- entertainment tax, property tax, show tax, service tax and various other small taxes -- which has made the cinema exhibition business unviable.

Mr Vidhani said entertainment tax should either be abolished altogether or should be levied upto a maximum of 15 to 20 per cent on similar lines of the developed countries.

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