FWICE writes to Maha CM, asks for 'special permission' to resume work

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Mumbai, Jun 1 (PTI) The Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) has written a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minster Uddhav Thackeray, urging the government to allow films and TV shows to restart production in the state.

In April, the Maha government had announced the suspension of all shootings in order to curb the spread of the infection in the state, which was in the middle of the deadly second wave of COVID-19.

Currently, some TV shows and film shoots are happening outside Maharashtra.

In their letter, sent to Thackeray on Monday, the FWICE said the media and entertainment (M&E) sector has been badly hit due to the coronavirus-forced statewide lockdown.

It stated that 'lakhs of artists, workers and technicians' have been jobless for the last one and half years when the pandemic started in India.

'This industry has been providing work to lakhs of hands and enabling their families to earn their daily bread.

'However, the lockdown of the industry has impacted the lives of these daily wage workers who have absolute no other source of income and are totally dependent on the work of the Industry,' read the letter.

The FWICE said an extension of the statewide lockdown will be a 'setback' for daily wagers as well as producers.

'Not only the workers but the producers are also affected badly with huge investments already made into the running projects which have been to a standstill due to the unfortunate lockdown.' The trade body requested the Maharashtra CM to provide a 'special permission' for resumption of filming activities in the state.

'We shall ensure that the work shall resume with strict adherence to the SOP's, guidelines issued by the government especially for the M&E industry.

'FWICE and the co-ordination committee assure you that all the rules and regulations of the government shall be followed by each and every crew member and all necessary precautions shall be taken at each work location,' the letter, signed by chief advisor Ashoke Pandit and President B N Tiwari among others, read.

The Maharashtra government on Sunday extended the lockdown-like curbs till June 15 but also announced that relaxations will be granted depending upon the COVID-19 positivity rate and availability of oxygen beds.

In Mumbai, the home to Hindi cinema and television sector, the curbs were relaxed by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) after the city witnessed a steady decline in COVID-19 cases.

The civic body has so far allowed non-essential shops to function between 7 am to 2 pm on alternate days from Monday to Friday for the next 15 days.

On Monday, Maharashtra reported 15,077 new COVID-19 cases, the lowest since March 15, taking the caseload to 57,46,892, while 184 more deaths pushed the toll to 95,344. PTI RB RB BK BK

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