Malancha to reopen minus fire, power permits

KOLKATA: cinema will open its doors on August 31 after remaining closed for a fortnight. However, what has surprised many is that Malancha does not have fire and electricity clearances.
Amar Roy Chowdhury, one of its owners, told TOI that the facility had been shut due to renovation. “From August 31, we shall screen ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se’ and ‘Stree’. In 2000-2001, the hall was shut for a year due to r enovation,” he said. He admitted that they did not have electricity clearance. “When Malancha was built in 1979, the electricity board, corporation office and other officials had allowed us to install a in front of the theatre. Some time ago, we were told that the transformer had to be shifted 60ft away from the hall,” he said A rough estimate puts cost of the infrastructure to get the clearance at Rs 6-7 lakh, something the 800-seater — that often doesn’t get more than 15 viewers — cannnot afford. “To shift the transformer, we need to lay 120-foot-long two-way underground cables. Nobody understands that this is a huge investment. If the licence isn’t renewed unless we shift the transformer, we shall be forced to shut down,” he said.

Malancha had a fire clearance till last year. “We have applied for fresh fire clearance. We shall take a call on what to do if new installations are recommended,” he added, admitting that Malancha will be opening without resolving these issues.

Meanwhile, Priya cinema’s owner Arijit Dutta said, “I am extremely disappointed and perturbed that all the rules and regulations are to be maintained by Priya only.”

A senior fire official told TOI they have asked some single-screen theatres to update their fire safety system. “We have urged them to comply with a set of stipulations at the earliest,” the official said. On being asked why Priya was singled out to shut down, he said, “The fire at Priya exposed the flaws in the safety system. So, it was asked to shut down. None of the other halls has experienced such incidents.”

However, Ratan Saha, chairman of the exhibitors’ section of Eastern India Motion Pictures Association (EIMPA), said, “Many theatreshave been served notices by the fire department. Financially, we can’t follow all the recommendations. It is strange that none of the theatres — including Jaya at , that witnessed a fire — have been asked to shut down like Priya.”
Get latest news & live updates on the go on your pc with . Download The for your device. in English and other languages.