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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 March, 2004, 12:15 GMT
Strike 'threatens Bombay cinemas'
Cinema in Bombay
It will not be the first time the cinemas have closed over the issue
More than 900 Indian cinemas in and around Bombay (Mumbai) are threatening to close in protest at a government tax policy, according to ScreenDaily.com.

The Theatre Owners' Association and the Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association of India are behind the action, which is due to start on 19 March.

The groups claim local politicians have gone back on a promise to cut entertainment tax from 55% to 45%.

Since 2000, nearly 50 cinemas have shut down in and around the city.

Last October, nearly 1,000 of the area's cinema halls were closed for three days because cinema owners said the Maharashtra state government's entertainment levy was too high.

The strike was called off after talks with the government.


A Cinematograph Exhibitors' Association of India spokesman said a bill to reduce the entertainment tax had been passed since then by both houses of the state parliament, according to the United News of India press agency.

''All it requires is just to publish a necessary notification, which has not been done for the reasons best known to the government,'' said the two organisations said in a joint statement reported by the agency.

The last meeting between the state government and the associations' members was held on 25 February.

But both groups say no action has been taken since then and they have no option but to close cinemas, the agency reports.

Each Indian state sets its own entertainment tax and several states, including Delhi, have recently reduced their levies.

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