Inspections were carried out to check if theatres were operating without a license or fire safety certificate, and if movie tickets were being sold at higher rates than permitted by the government.

Krishna SP Siddharth Kaushal inspecting a theatre in Machilipatnam, Andhra officials sealed 12 theatres in Krishna district after surprise checks Twitter/Radhika Reddy
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Twelve movie theatres in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh were sealed after police and revenue officials carried out surprise inspections on December 22, Wednesday. The inspections were carried out to check for violations like running theatres without a license or fire safety certificate, and selling movie tickets, as well as food items and beverages, at inflated rates. Inspections were carried out in many locations across the district including Vijayawada, Machilipatnam, Nuziveedu and Avanigadda. Incidentally, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had recently suspended the government order (GO) 35 issued earlier in April setting limits on movie ticket prices. 

Krishna District Joint Collector K Madhavi Latha told the media that a total of 15 theatres were found to have violations, of which 12 were confirmed, and those theatres have been sealed. Sailaja theatre in Vijayawada was fined an amount of Rs 20,000, according to The New Indian Express, which the Joint Collector said was due to poor sanitation standards. District Superintendent of Police Siddharth Kaushal also inspected a theatre in Machilipatnam and enquired about ticket rates and other charges.    

“We found a few theatres running without a proper license and fire safety certificate. Such theatres have been closed and asked to renew their B-form licenses. Revenue and police teams across the district have inspected movie theatres. So far, in multiplexes, no violation of ticket rates was observed. Usually, violations are seen in the first two days of movie release. From now onwards, inspections will be done at the time of movie release and action will be taken if necessary,” Joint Collector K Madhavi Latha said. 

The move comes ahead of the release of high budget films like RRR and Radhe Shyam. The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to introduce an online movie ticket system administered by the government, and a Bill was passed in this regard in the state Assembly in November. Minister for Cinematography Perni Venkataramaiah had said that the Andhra Pradesh Cinemas (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill 2021 will check exploitation of moviegoers. 

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