From the archives: Centre not for cinema houses nationalisation

New Delhi, March 21: Mr. I.K. Gujral, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, made it clear in the Lok Sabha during question-time to-day that the Government’s policy was not to nationalise cinema houses. Mr. Gujral, who was replying to Mr. Prabodh Chandra, said that while the Government would make some public investments in the construction of cinema houses, they would want private enterprise to invest in cinema houses. Construction of cinema houses had a low priority in public investment, he said. The Government had plans to establish a chain of theatres to make up the big shortage in the number of cinema houses available and the State Governments were expected to act on the recommendation of a recent conference of State Information Ministers to set apart 10 per cent for the encouragement of construction of cinema houses. After Mr. Dharam Bir Sinha, Deputy Minister of Information, had said, in reply to Dr. H.P. Sharma, that there were only 7,140 cinema houses in the country against the 26,000 required, Mr. Prabodh Chandra said people were not coming forward to construct cinema houses because threats of nationalisation were being held out often as was happening in Punjab. He wanted a categorical statement that cinema houses would not be nationalised. In reply to him as well as Mr. Jyotirmoy Basu, who had alleged that threats of nationalisation were being held out to collect money for the Congress, Mr. Gujral said he had seen reports of the Punjab Government’s intention to take over cinema houses, but the State Government had not approached the Centre on this issue.