Shankar Nag theatre, BBMP spar over dues

Movie house not ready to pay for the period it stopped screening while upgrading power line

Shankar Nag theatre, BBMP spar over dues

legal wrangle: Shankar Nag theatre on M G Road. dh Photo

While the Palike has threatened the theatre management that it would not renew the lease, the theatre management has slapped a legal notice on the Palike.

The controversy dates back to September 2007 when the theatre management wrote a letter to the Palike with a request to upgrade its electricity supply line from 145 KV to 500 KV. The Palike officials said they had to contact Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) to upgrade the power supply. “Changing the lines cannot be done overnight, it takes years. We had to write to Bescom,” said a senior Palike official. The Bescom authorities then shifted the transformer from the basement to outside the Public Utility Building. Sources claimed the Palike spent Rs 70 lakh on shifting and upgrading the power line.

The final glitch was from the Department of Electrical Inspectorate, which was to give approval to the upgrading of the electrical installations in the theatre. The officials of the Inspectorate surveyed the theatre twice - on December 24, 2008 and January 2, 2009. Finally, on January 20, 2009, the Inspectorate gave permission to the authorities to run the theatre, after its conditions were met.

The theatre authorities pay a monthly rent of Rs 18 lakh, said the Palike sources. But they refused to pay rent for eight months between August 2008 and March 2009, saying the theatre did not run during the period, resulting in losses.

Never interrupted

The Palike authorities contended that the electricity supply was never interrupted. "Upgrading utilities or facilities is their (theatre authorities’) problem. In what way is Palike concerned with it? We never asked them to upgrade their facilities and stop payment to us," the sources said.

A meeting between the Palike Commissioner Siddaiah and the theatre authorities could not break the ice. The Palike commissioner refused to renew the licence to run the theatre. In the meantime, the Palike deputy commissioner (market) too served a notice on the theatre management asking it to pay the dues. In reply, the theatre authorities reportedly slapped a legal notice on the Palike to withdraw the notice issued by the DC (market).

It is learnt that a revenue inspector of Bangalore East Zone sent a file to the Palike head office recommending that all the dues be waived off, which harmed the Palike’s case further. Deccan Herald tried to contact Shankar Nag Chitramandira manager, Raja S, and their PR in-charge Karan but they did not clarify the stand.

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