The Maharashtra government on Friday assured that there is no ban on carrying outside food inside multiplexes.
The assurance that moviegoers will be allowed to take outside food inside the multiplexes during the screening of films – has received an overwhelming response on the social media.
“There is no ban on patrons carrying outside food to multiplexes and if the multiplex authorities prohibit it, they could face action,” Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies assured the Maharashtra legislature at the ongoing monsoon session in Nagpur.
The minister’s statement came after a heated debate on the raging issue of the exorbitant rates charged by multiplexes for food, water and beverages.
It may be recalled that recently several political parties have raised the issue particularly the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena – and some of its activists manhandled a multiplex manager in Pune. MNS has undertaken protests in Mumbai and Thane as well besides Pune – following which a delegation of multiplex owners called on Thackeray in Mumbai and discussed the issue.
The leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde of the NCP raised the issue of differential pricing of the same product inside and outside multiplexes.
It may be recalled, the Bombay High Court – in its response to a plea filed by social activist Jitendra Baxi - had said why the Maharashtra government could not regulate the prices of the food and beverages sold inside multiplexes.
Meanwhile, Cinema Owners & Exhibitors Association of India (COEA) President Nitin Datar said that they have not received any orders from the government. “We will surely comply if the government makes it mandatory,” he said, however, he added that the association would be able to react only after going through the notification or the formal order. “We would have to see the details…whether food would be allowed in the auditorium or till the lobby,” he said.
The outside food is a major issue in multiplexes. In fact, there is a difference in rates between the privately-owned multiplexes and the multiplexes chain owned by the bigger companies.