Navi Mumbai: Shoot cancelled, railways don't know how to refund money

A film studio wanted to shoot at Koparkhairane station, but the schedule had to be cancelled for other reasons; now, Central Railway says they can’t return the Rs 1.68 lakh directly, as there is no such provision for refunds

Central Railway, as if it didn’t have enough to worry about, now has an unprecedented problem at hand. A film studio had paid it to rent a railway station for a shoot, but the schedule got cancelled and the studio asked for a refund. However, Central Railway (CR) says they cannot return the amount since there is no provision for such a refund.

The sequence was to be shot on July 28 at Koparkhairane railway station. File pic
The sequence was to be shot on July 28 at Koparkhairane railway station. File pic

The production house wanted to shoot at Koparkhairane on July 28 from 12 am to 7 am for their film starring Sonakshi Sinha. After securing permission from CR on July 25, they had paid CR R1.68 lakh for hiring the premises. However, permissions from some other authorities didn’t come through and the shoot had to be cancelled.

This was conveyed to the authorities on July 27. Now the railways face a dilemma should they simply refund the amount or adjust it for a future shoot. Railway authorities say there is no provision in their rules to initiate a refund.

This is the first time in railway history that such a situation has arisen and CR has had to write a letter to the Railway Board in Delhi, asking it to provide guidance on what to do. Narendra Patil, the chief public relations officer of Central Railway, confirmed that he has written such a letter to the Railway Board.

Dated July 27, the letter reads, “Please advice this office (CPRO) whether charges paid by the party can be adjusted for the next schedule or refund can be made to the party as there is no proper guidelines regarding adjustment of shooting charges and refund of the same. (sic)”

According to Patil, this is the first time such a situation has arisen. “The money given to the railways belongs to the Indian treasury and we do not have any provision where to get it back, except for a ticket refund,” Patil explained. Since CR, at its level, is not authorised to take a decision, it has written to the higher authorities in Delhi asking for help.

Railway authorities claimed the same studio has put in a request to shoot a sequence in a running train at Panvel, on July 30. While CR has granted permission, it has put in a mandatory R5 crore insurance clause that the studio has complied with. A senior official claimed that, during an earlier shoot, a train was burnt and this clause was to make up for any losses incurred by the railways.

Rs 1.3 crore
Amount CR earned in 2014 by renting out its property for shooting documentaries, advertisements, and feature films

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