Producers push for regional film act – Fraternity opposes proposed film policy

Guwahati, Sept. 15: The All Assam Cine Producers Association and the state film fraternity has moved chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal for a regional film act instead of the proposed state film policy.

A delegation of representatives of the two organisations, who recently started working jointly for development of the Assamese film industry, met Sonowal and raised the demand.

“We have demanded a regional film act for Assamese films so that it can formally get the status of an industry. If an act is enacted, various problems of the industry can be solved quickly. Workers in this field can also avail of the benefits and rights,” Assamese film director and producer Junmoni Devi Khaund told The Telegraph.

“We have demanded a cine act where production, distribution, marketing, grant-in-aid, problems of cine workers and all other issues of the film industry can be regulated. The proposed cine policy is not enough because once the government changes, the policy will also change accordingly. We want a permanent solution. We demand that representatives from all organisations related to films also be included in drafting the act,” Khaund said.

In a memorandum submitted to the chief minister, the team demanded grant-in-aid for the filmmakers of the state. “We have demanded grant-in-aid for the regional filmmakers of the state like there is in Maharashtra. We also suggested in the memorandum that if any producer does not get grant-in-aid then he or she has to get the returns from the state goods and services tax (GST). Earlier, producers in Assam used to get returns from the entertainment tax from the government. But now that system has been withdrawn, which is a loss for us. So, we demand return of the state share of GST. We also demand Rs 50 lakh as grant-in-aid for a film,” Khaund said.

Complaining about the lengthy process to secure a licence to set up a cinema hall, the delegation demanded a single-window system. “To secure a licence to set up a cinema hall in Assam, one has to collect 17 no-objection certificates. So, many interested young entrepreneurs back off. We have demanded to make the deputy commissioner of a district the sole authority to issue the licence. We further demand appointment of a joint director of films to deal with problems of the film industry,” Khaund said.

Appreciating Sonowal’s response in the meeting yesterday, Khaund said: “The chief minister gave us a positive response. So far no one had approached him over the issue. He is enthusiastic about giving a boost to the film industry. He said a team will be formed soon to draw up a draft.”

Sonowal said the government will provide financial assistance of Rs 50 lakh for reopening of cinema halls in the state, while Rs 25 lakh will be provided to cinema halls which are in need of repairs.

Manash Pratim Dutta Telegraph India

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