New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday allowed the cinema halls in the state to increase the seating capacity from existing 50 per cent to 100 per cent with adherence to COVID safety protocols, just days after the Tamil Nadu government repealed a similar order following Centre's objection.

The announcement in this regard was made by Banerjee during the virtual inauguration of the 26th Kolkata International Film Festival, according to a report by news agency PTI. The CM asked Chief Secretary Alanpan Bandopadhyay to issue a formal notification regarding the same.

Theatre owners in West Bengal had recently written a letter to Banerjee, requesting her to allow full occupancy of the establishments. The 50 per cent occupancy restriction had been imposed as part of the measures to curb the spread of coronavirus.  

The development has come just hours after the Tamil Nadu government repealed its decision to allow theatres in the state to increase the seating capacity to 100 per cent following the Home Ministry's objection. In a statement, the Ministry said the state government's move to increase the seating capacity diluted its guidelines that had been issued under the Disaster Management Act of 2005 in a bid to contain the outbreak of the pandemic. 

"Government of Tamil Nadu order of permitting the increase of the seating capacity of Cinema/theaters/multiplexes from existing 50% to 100% is dilution of MHA order. States and UT shall not dilute guidelines issued under the DM act in any manner. In view of the above, Govt of Tamil Nadu is requested to immediately issue necessary order to bring their Guidelines in line with the MHA guidelines dated 28 December 2020 and inform compliance to the Ministry," the MHA said in a statement.

The Ministry had allowed the cinema halls, theatres and multiplexes to reopen from October last year with 50 per cent seating capacity. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja