With nationwide lockdown until April 14 to fight against the spread of Coronavirus, all film related activities across the country have come to a complete halt. While all sections of the industry is badly hit including the film workers, it is the exhibitors who are facing the maximum heat with huge losses incurred by them.
According to the Karnataka Film Exhibitors Association president KV Chandrashekar there are nearly 600 single screen theatres in Karnataka in which around 13,000 employees work on daily basis in shifts with an monthly expenditure costing upto Rs. 15.50 crores per month.
Speaking to Chitraloka, Veeresh theatre owner Mr. K V Chandrashekar said, "For example, in our Veeresh theater, 20 people each work in two shifts which makes it to 40 in a day. In other theaters like Kapali, there were about 75 employees at one time. Altogether there are nearly 600 theaters in the State."
He goes on to add that whether the theater is operational or not, one has to shell out Rs. 15.50 crores per month for the employees alone as salaries and to their other facilities.
"In single theaters, the minimum salary of an employee is Rs 10,000, which cannot be paid in cash and it also includes payment such as PF and ESI, all of which amounts to Rs. 12,000 to Rs. 13,000/- per month. By taking into account the above, the exhibitors in the State have to pay at least Rs. 15.50 crs per month," he adds.
That's not all, exhibitors also have to pay for electricity, water, maintenance and other miscellaneous charges. "The minimum electricity bill would be Rs. 10,000, and water charges will also be Rs 10,000 per month if theatres are facilitated with sanitary connection." We have not taken the count of Parking, Canteen persons to the account.
On an average, the overall expenditure for exhibitors in the State would come around Rs 27.50 crores per month. This figure excludes multiplexes. Anybody can imagine how much theater persons have to suffer in the country when there are 11,500 single screen theater in India. here are he signs off.