Bhopal: Film lovers in Madhya Pradesh have been deprived of watching new releases since October 5 as over 400 theatres have downed shutters in protest against entertainment tax levied by some local bodies in the state. Few days ago, the single screen (Cinema Halls) theatre owners withdrew themselves from the strike claiming that they were incurring huge losses and decided to screen only South Indian dubbed movies.

A theatre owner said that entertainment tax, which had been levied over and above GST, had created an additional financial burden on the sector and was also defeating the one nation, one tax that GST promised. “Goods and Services Tax of 28 per cent is levied on film tickets. Now urban local bodies, depending on their categories, have imposed additional entertainment tax ranging from 5-15 per cent. Screening of new movies have stopped since October 5 as theatres are shut,” said Jitendra Jain, ex-president of Film Federation of India.

“The slogan of ‘one nation, one tax’ which was made when GST was imposed has been proved wrong due to this double taxation,” Jain told. He said that workers employed at these theatres are in danger of losing their livelihood due to the strike, and demanded that the Union government intervene immediately.

Cinema industry sources said that big players in the sector are unwilling to pay this additional entertainment tax as it would encourage other states to impose such taxes on film tickets.