Sri Lanka should give back freedom taken from film hall owners: legislator

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka should restore the freedom taken away from owners of film halls so that they can make better use of their properties if they wish, a legislator said.

"In our area in the Gampola electorate three film halls have been closed," Kandy district legislator Ananda Aluthgamage told parliament.

"Near Peradeniya town I have seen a large film hall which has been closed. I believe the government has banned owners from using these important properties for a different industry through a law."

He said though the film halls were built for one industry, they could be used productively in another industry.

He said to give modern facilities large amount of money was needed, but people were not so keen to watch movies in theatres as they were in the 1970s and 1980s.

The movie industry has rapidly changed all over the world recent decades with large theatres giving way to mutli-plexes with several smaller halls showing different movies simultaneously.

Even in the US the advent of Netflix and other online services is challenging not just the movie theatres but the old studios. Sri Lanka’s parliament has passed a number of laws restricing people’s economic freedoms since indepedence, blocking their ability to put resources to better use or innovate.

Laws such as the Paddy Lands Act does not simply prevent land from being re-allocated to services or industry from agriculture, but planting alternative crops area also prohibited. In fast growing East Asia, land is re-allocated quickly as new sectors begin expansion. (Colombo/Aug22/2019)