Hyderabad: Movie-buffs in Hyderabad are being made to pay through the nose. This has been the case with most multiplex movie distributors like INOX, which has been charging differently across different malls in the city. However, authorities have been moving at a snail’s pace to stop this brazen malpractice.
Consider the case of INOX at GSM Mall. According to Amar Kokkanti, a techie from Madinaguda, “Instead of the usual Rs 138 that is charged in other multiplexes in the city, this one charges Rs 200 for an Executive ticket. As opposed to the normal Rs 230 for a Royal ticket, this INOX would charge Rs 350, which is a leap by almost 34% (not 52%?, please check). This is a clear violation to anti-profiteering clause Under Section 171 of CGST Act. ”
The techie had complained to the Telangana State Consumer Information and Redressal Centre at Errum Manzil in August, seeking information as to why movie-goers are charged increased rates for the same INOX entity, in different malls. After a lot of dilly-dallying, the consumer forum tried to resolve the issue by negotiating with the theatre management. “The INOX GSM management say that they are going as per the 'proposed fares' citing certain High Court orders, which is valid only for four weeks. However, they are not answering whether the Cyberabad police, which is the licensing authority, has granted them permission to carry on with these ‘proposed rates'.”
There is a definite lack of information on how much multiplex theatres are allowed to charge for movie tickets. Vijay Gopal, the founder of Forum Against Corruption, says, “I have filed RTIs asking on why we can’t access information on licences granted and how much money theatres can charge, but I received a shabby response. They said the licence cannot be displayed as it pertains to third party information. Don’t consumers need to know how much movie theatres are supposed to collect? If the right jurisdiction, central GST team, national anti-profit team come together, then they will not come up with these excuses.”
As of now, Amar Kokkanti's case has been forwarded to the District Consumer Forum. Nevertheless, this calls for an immediate intervention by the Cyberabad police chief and the licensing authority. Cops along with GST officials need to routinely check profit-making tactics of theatre managements.