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April 21, 2001 - April 21, 2001

Migration begins from border areas of Kutch Saturday, April 21, 2001

RAJKOT: People from border villages of Kutch have started migrating as no government aid is forthcoming even three months after the quake. No rehabilitation work has been undertaken yet in any of the quake-affected areas.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers, returning from border villages of Dhrobaba, Kuran, Khavda and Dinara told this correspondent that abject poverty, unemployment and lack of any kind of help from the government was forcing people to migrate.

Volunteers further said anti-national elements from across the border were taking advantage of the situation. They feared that the situation could turn volatile if not checked immediately.

Volunteers said even though 90 per cent of the houses in the area had been destroyed completely, not a single elected representative had cared to visit the affected areas so far. Volunteers said that galvanised sheets sent by the state government had reached only upto Khavda. Not a single cement bag had reached the interior villages, they said.

The Seva Bharati organisation had decided to lend a helping hand to rehabilitate people in these areas. Under the first phase of the rehabilitation, eight bhungas would be constructed for 26 Harijan families, in the area.

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Migration begins from border areas of Kutch Saturday, April 21, 2001

RAJKOT: People from border villages of Kutch have started migrating as no government aid is forthcoming even three months after the quake. No rehabilitation work has been undertaken yet in any of the quake-affected areas.

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh workers, returning from border villages of Dhrobaba, Kuran, Khavda and Dinara told this correspondent that abject poverty, unemployment and lack of any kind of help from the government was forcing people to migrate.

Volunteers further said anti-national elements from across the border were taking advantage of the situation. They feared that the situation could turn volatile if not checked immediately.

Volunteers said even though 90 per cent of the houses in the area had been destroyed completely, not a single elected representative had cared to visit the affected areas so far. Volunteers said that galvanised sheets sent by the state government had reached only upto Khavda. Not a single cement bag had reached the interior villages, they said.

The Seva Bharati organisation had decided to lend a helping hand to rehabilitate people in these areas. Under the first phase of the rehabilitation, eight bhungas would be constructed for 26 Harijan families, in the area.

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Rajkot to get 36,000 new phone connections Saturday, April 21, 2001

RAJKOT: General manager of Rajkot telecom district Vinod Prakash said here on Wednesday that 36,000 new telephone connections would be released during the year by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited. BSNL mobile phone service would also be made available by December in Rajkot.

Addressing a news conference, area manager B K Karecha said several new exchanges would be started and some exchanges would be upgraded with state-of-the-art equipment.Elaborating, the general manager said 23 new rural exchanges would be started while the Kasturba exchange would have a CDot exchange. Rajkot residents could avail of new wireless inloop line (codeless) phones by June-July this year. To begin with, 1000 new connections would be made available within a range of three km, at the rate of Rs 1.20 per call.

Giving details of the work done so far, Prakash said as against the 45,000 line capacity of the exchange, the telecom department had released 45,868 connections. The department provided 32,100 new connections. Besides, there has been an increase of 200 STD and PCO booths in the city.

For year 2001-2 the department plans to open 17 new telephone exchanges in rural areas. The department also plans to start three more customer care centres.

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Big B helps out recession-hit cinema halls Saturday, April 21, 2001

VADODARA: The angry young man seems to have made a comeback to city theatres. Both in Ahmedabad and Vadodara a few theatre owners are showing old hits of Amitabh Bachchan in the hope of tiding over the current drop in attendance and fewer film prints, which theatre owners say are comparatively expensive due to decrease in viewership and revenue.

Most film distributors, until recently, were wary to release new films due to the recession. Theatre owners too were reluctant to buy prints of new films due to the recessionary trends. Most of them say that collections have been down throughout the state due to the earthquake, water crisis, money flow problem and the exams.

However, the approaching summer vacations are making them optimistic. They feel once new films are released audiences would once again throng theatres.

"Now that summer vacations have started and new films (like Albela that released on Friday) are being released, things would change," says Alpana's Raghuvir Gohil. But not all seem to share this optimism. Regarding the comeback of the Big B on theatre screens he says the current popularity of the KBC show has renewed interest in his old hits.

Barring Albela, Jodi No 1, Rahul and One 2 Ka 4 there have been no new releases in the past few days and most theatre owners are showing films released months ago such as Mohabbatein and Kaho Na Pyar Hai or old hits of Amitabh Bachchan.

In Vadodara, Aradhana recently showed Sholay in its matinee show daily for two weeks and in Vihar Coolie is currently being shown in the matinee. In Ahmedabad Shalimar and Sangam are showing Don and Deewar respectively.

According to Narendra Doshi of Aradhana, the earthquake coupled with water crisis has caused a drop in collections. "We showed Sholay to cater to the demand of the audience for a change. Since bringing new film prints is not possible, we decided to show Sholay during the matinee for a change," he says.

Doshi says Sholay got a good response. "Though the number of audience has dropped, Sholay being a classic film had a good number of viewers," he said.

He says distributors of new films that are produced under big banners quote a high price for prints. Due to the decrease in audience our revenues are down and therefore the cost of bringing in new films produced under big banners becomes expensive," he says.

The distributors, on their part, are wary of bringing new films due to the recession and drop in the number of theatre-goers since the past few months.

Suryakant Patel of Sangam in Ahmedabad says they have to keep changing the movies that they air so that film-goers keep coming to theatres. The reduced collections since the past few months had affected film distributors and new releases, but now things would slowly get back to normal.

"We have no plans to show only old movies. We might be bringing in new released films like Jodi No 1 soon," he said. According to him, new big banner releases are difficult to acquire due to the high costs involved.

Most big banner film distributors either hire cinema halls for a certain period of time or sell prints of a percentage-sharing basis. Due to recession and the reduction in the number of audience many theatre owners are opting to hire out their halls says a theatre owner on condition of anonymity.

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Big B helps out recession-hit cinema halls Saturday, April 21, 2001

VADODARA: The angry young man seems to have made a comeback to city theatres. Both in Ahmedabad and Vadodara a few theatre owners are showing old hits of Amitabh Bachchan in the hope of tiding over the current drop in attendance and fewer film prints, which theatre owners say are comparatively expensive due to decrease in viewership and revenue.

Most film distributors, until recently, were wary to release new films due to the recession. Theatre owners too were reluctant to buy prints of new films due to the recessionary trends. Most of them say that collections have been down throughout the state due to the earthquake, water crisis, money flow problem and the exams.

However, the approaching summer vacations are making them optimistic. They feel once new films are released audiences would once again throng theatres.

"Now that summer vacations have started and new films (like Albela that released on Friday) are being released, things would change," says Alpana's Raghuvir Gohil. But not all seem to share this optimism. Regarding the comeback of the Big B on theatre screens he says the current popularity of the KBC show has renewed interest in his old hits.

Barring Albela, Jodi No 1, Rahul and One 2 Ka 4 there have been no new releases in the past few days and most theatre owners are showing films released months ago such as Mohabbatein and Kaho Na Pyar Hai or old hits of Amitabh Bachchan.

In Vadodara, Aradhana recently showed Sholay in its matinee show daily for two weeks and in Vihar Coolie is currently being shown in the matinee. In Ahmedabad Shalimar and Sangam are showing Don and Deewar respectively.

According to Narendra Doshi of Aradhana, the earthquake coupled with water crisis has caused a drop in collections. "We showed Sholay to cater to the demand of the audience for a change. Since bringing new film prints is not possible, we decided to show Sholay during the matinee for a change," he says.

Doshi says Sholay got a good response. "Though the number of audience has dropped, Sholay being a classic film had a good number of viewers," he said.

He says distributors of new films that are produced under big banners quote a high price for prints. Due to the decrease in audience our revenues are down and therefore the cost of bringing in new films produced under big banners becomes expensive," he says.

The distributors, on their part, are wary of bringing new films due to the recession and drop in the number of theatre-goers since the past few months.

Suryakant Patel of Sangam in Ahmedabad says they have to keep changing the movies that they air so that film-goers keep coming to theatres. The reduced collections since the past few months had affected film distributors and new releases, but now things would slowly get back to normal.

"We have no plans to show only old movies. We might be bringing in new released films like Jodi No 1 soon," he said. According to him, new big banner releases are difficult to acquire due to the high costs involved.

Most big banner film distributors either hire cinema halls for a certain period of time or sell prints of a percentage-sharing basis. Due to recession and the reduction in the number of audience many theatre owners are opting to hire out their halls says a theatre owner on condition of anonymity.

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