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State asks multiplexes to allow outside food & reduce prices

Maharashtra has asked multiplex owners to permit movie-goers to bring their own food items as well as reduce the price of eatables sold inside the premises, a state minister said on Friday.

People cannot be prohibited from carrying outside food and the government has given directives regarding this to owners of malls and multiplexes, said Ravindra Chavan, junior minister for food and civil supplies and consumer protection.

Food and beverages at high-end cinemas in India are often priced at a significant premium to their retail price in the market and help bulk up revenues for multiplex operators.

The government’s decision, which will be enforced on August 1, sent shares of multiplex operators tumbling, with PVR Ltd and INOX Leisure Ltd diving as much as 14.1 percent and 14 percent, respectively, on the broader NSE index that ended slightly lower. PVR did not respond to Reuters’ request for comment, while INOX was not immediately reachable.

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