No respite for Kutch cinemas after 6 years

MUMBAI: There are 11-cinemas in Kutch (the Saurashtra region of Bombay territory). In the earthquake that rocked the region in January 2001, the government had assured financial assistance for the damages suffered due to this natural calamity. Six years have passed since, but still there is no relief in sight. The financial assistance are yet to reach cinema owners. Almost a year back, the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had promised appropriate action on the issue. However, no action has been taken as yet.


Kutch Exhibitors Association president A.G. Jagasia says, “Earlier five surveys were conducted and thereafter in April 2004, the government had decided to give financial assistance as assessed by the special committee. Each earthquake-hit cinema owner was sanctioned a relief of about Rs 12.5 million (Rs 1.25 crore). However, so far we have not received a single penny. In April 2005, chief secretary P.K. Laheri forwarded the file pertaining to quake relief to the industry department. The letter was acknowledged by the CMO, but the government is not in a position to decide as to which minister should make the payment. In August this year the cinema owners have submitted a three-page memorandum to Gujarat industry minister Anil Patel.”

Chandrakant Gor who owns two big cinemas in Bhuj (Modern and Ravi with seating capacities of 402 and 400 respectively) says, “We are still waiting for our compensation. Compared to Saurashtra region, Kutch paid Rs 20 million (Rs 2 crore) as entertainment tax, which was one of the highest. Our losses too are much more the sanctioned relief and we should get more.”


However, it remains to be seen what action will be taken.