Eros Cinema latest victim of Cambata Aviation row

MUMBAI: After nearly 80 years of being one of the most popular cinema houses in the city, Eros Cinema has been forced to close, with the State government on Wednesday sealing Cambata Building in which it is housed. Located opposite Churchgate Station, Cambata Building and Cambata Aviation are owned by the same entity, which is in trouble for not paying salaries to staff of its aviation firm. The building was sealed on the orders of the Labour Court.

Mumbai City Collector Ashwini Joshi told The Hindu, “We have attached the property as per the orders from the Labour Court as the owners of the building have not paid dues of their employees. This is the procedure followed by the government in such cases and we will proceed as we receive orders from the court.”.

The government action effectively means that the iconic Eros Cinema will not screen films on Thursday, and other old and popular establishments in the building, including Cafe Oval, will remain shut till the court grants relief.

Galaxy Aviation, a tenant in the building, has moved the Bombay High Court contending that they should not be held responsible for the actions of the property owner, as they are tenants.

Senior Counsel Anil Sakhre said the court has granted interim relief to the company, allowing them to use four of their offices till January 30, the date for the next hearing in the case. Ms. Joshi, however, said her office has not received any such court order.

Social activist Anjali Damania, who is spearheading the protests for dues by employees of Cambata Aviation, said around 2,700 workers have not been paid salaries for the last 11 months, which totals Rs. 109.8 crore as of January 2017.

“The workers approached the Industrial Court, which passed four separate orders from July 2016, two of which directed initiation of recovery procedure by seizing assets of Cambata Aviation,” she said.

Based on the court;s directions, company assets at the airport were seized. The ground-handling equipment had been rented to Bird Worldwide Flight Services (BWFS), which replaced Cambata Aviation at the city airport. Senior management at Bird Worldwide maintained that they had entered into a legal agreement with Cambata for the equipment, and targeting their company was highly unjustified. They have sought for a stay on the seizing of equipment from the Bombay High Court .

A senior company official said, “We are being targeted simply at the behest of our competitors. We were to purchase equipment from Cambata, the money for which was to be used for the payment of dues of employees. The entire court process has stalled the signing of the agreement, and we are being forced into unwanted judicial battles.”

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 12:16:48 AM |

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