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October 25, 2000 - October 28, 2000

Festive season spells big business for cinemas in city Saturday, October 28, 2000

AHMEDABAD, OCT 26: Two expected blockbusters, the festive season and holidays. That was perhaps the right mixture required as film buffs lined up today at cinemas that will screen `Mission Kashmir' and `Mohabbatein' from Friday.
And going by the advance booking of these two movies at the theatres in the city, it seems that theatres screening Mission Kashmir and Mohabbatein are going to have packed houses during the festive season that spreads over the weekend.

Incidentally, both the movies have been timed to be released during the Diwali season in a bid to draw the maximum number of viewers. Most offices, educational institutions and other organisations are closed during the Diwali season. While Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Mission Kashmir is being screened at R World, City Pulse, Drive-In, Relief, Galaxy, Mira, Milan, Kamal and Geeta cinemas from Friday, Mohabbatein by Yash Chopra is being screened at R World, City Pulse, Shiv, Advance, Anupam and Amber.

The two multiplexes close to the city City Pulse and R World -- have also attempted to gain maximum mileage from the release of the two movies and are screening both simultaneously.

Despite the scorching heat, a large number of film enthusiasts, particularly the youth, turned up for advance booking on Thursday for the two movies at these multiplexes located on the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar highway. Long queues were seen at both for advance booking. A rush was also seen at the City Pulse extension counter in Ambawadi area of the city.

Said Pradeep Chudasama, owner of R World, ``The response has been tremendous. In either case, these two movies are bound to be blockbusters and having them screened in two parts of the multiplex is a bonus.'' Staff of City Pulse also said that going by advance booking queues, it seemed as if the movies would perform reasonably well.

Queues were also seen at advance booking counters at other theatres that would screen the two movies from Friday. Bhavin Shah, who stood in a queue at Shiv Cinema for tickets of Mohabbatein, said - ``We have got holidays and this is expected to be a great movie. I really do not mind standing in a queue for a couple of hours for tickets.''

Another movie goer Deepak Sheth stated that his friends had decided to watch Mission Kashmir after seeing the advertisements of the movie on television. Others said they wanted to watch the movie because of Hrithik Roshan. Staff at Drive-In, where Mission Kashmir will be screened from Friday, said although there is no advance booking system there, huge crowds were expected to arrive when current booking begins on Friday evening. Those at other theatres where the two movies will be screened also said that seats for a couple of shows for Friday and Sunday were sold out during today's advance booking.

Apart from these two movies, people were willing to watch the Govinda starrer, `Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain', which is also being screened at a few theatres in the city.

Amdavadis celebrate with fire crackers, lights and poojas Saturday, October 28, 2000

AHMEDABAD, OCT 26: The skies were lit up with different hues on Thursday as Diwali, the festival of lights, was celebrated enthusiastically in the city. A whole new range of firecrackers, including shower bombs and rockets, added more sparkle to the Diwali night.
Community gatherings in several residential areas and societies also added to the festive atmosphere. As the evening wore off, the `fatakdas' started. A new variety of Chinese crackers which explode in the skies leaving a shower of rainbow colours set the mood for the big night.

In the evening, most houses, shops and buildings were decorated with diyas. Some of the high-rises were even lit up by decorative lighting.

Earlier in the day, greeting each other apart, people lined up outside sweet shops and ice-cream parlours. The roads wore a deserted look in the afternoon, as people kept to their homes at that time. However, it provided children and youngsters an opportunity to play cricket on the deserted roads.

At Bhadra and Dilli Darwaja areas, some were spotted doing last minute shopping on Thursday morning.

Govt's efforts kept oil prices down -- Bhatt Wednesday, October 25, 2000

VADODARA, OCT 24: For the first time the price of edibile oil has come down during Diwali, pronounced Minister for Health & Civil Supplies Ashok Bhatt, who was here in Vadoara on Tuesday. Bhatt atttributed the achievement to the timely management of stock and supplies by the state goverment.
About the shortage of sugar, Bhatt said that the current stock is coming to Gujarat from Karnataka, which takes more time. He added,``We have requested the Union Government to allot supplies from the sugar mills within the state so that there is no lapse in time during transportation and the stocks are replenished well in time for the festive season.''

Bhatt also said that investigation of the blinding of patients at the Vaduvala hospital was completed. Bhatt said,``The report will soon be handed over to the consumer commission for redressal of the grieved.' Speaking about issuing of the laminated ration cards, Bhatt said that the procedure would begin soon after Diwali and a Gram Vikas Samiti has already been constituted to prepare the list of people below poverty line. Earlier the laminated ration cards were to be issued by June 30.

Bhatt emphasised on the recent order in favour of the construction of the Sardar Sarovar dam. He said,``On October 31, on the occasion of Sardar Patel jayanti, Narmada Pujan will take place at Kevadia which will also be attended by Union Home Minister Advani.''

People bitter over shortage of sugar Wednesday, October 25, 2000

VADODARA, OCT 24: For residents in some parts of the city, this Diwali may not be as sweet as last time: the District Supplies Office (DSO) has run short of sugar stock for the festival. Sources in the DSO said the shortage was because of the delay in the arrival of sugar consignment from Karnataka and Maharashtra due to some transportation problems. More than 30 Fair Price Shops (FPS) out of the total 265 are facing sugar shortage.
``Twice I went to the FPS for taking the quota of sugar allotted to us but I was told that there was no stock. With Diwali round the corner, it really makes things difficult for us,'' said Madhav Shah of Manjalpur. Meanwhile some residents have alleged that the shop operators are deliberately creating the shortage for black marketing. ``The shortage is created by the FPS owners and subsequently the quota of sugar is diverted to the black market,'' alleged a consumer.

But District Supplies Officer (DSO), Pushpak Bhatt denied these charges. ``There were shortage in sugar supply a few days back but it has almost been solved'', he claimed. ``Barring few shops, sugar quota has been made available,'' he told the Express Newsline. He said that the shortage had arisen because of the transportation problem. Transportation problem was solved and the sugar movement has already been resumed, he said.

Bhatt said that the total sugar demand of the city was 2000 quintals and the administration was now in a position to meet the demand. But, despite these official claims, residents in some parts of the city failed to get their sugar quota even on Tuesday.

SMC gets complain-by-phone system Wednesday, October 25, 2000

SURAT, OCT 24: A unique automated complaint lodging & monitoring system (ACLMS) introduced by the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) was inaugurated by Mayor Ajay Choksi on Tuesday.
``The ACLMS system, which has been introduced by SMC for the first time in Surat city, will help bridge the gap between a common citizen and the top brass of the SMC,'' Choksi said.

The system has been developed by SMC with help from Gates Information Systems of Ahmedabad. The system will provide facilities like lodging complaint regarding any facet of SMC operations, retrieving the status of a previously lodged complaint, getting information regarding SMC and its various operations and getting help in case of emergency.

The system can interact with people in Gujarati, Hindi and English. The department of telecommunications (DoT) has assigned a four-digit number (1913) for accessing the system by phone.

According to an SMC release, the ACLMS system will be one of the most important integral parts of the SMC's administrative mechanism. It will help not only in correcting SMC's present functioning but also in colleting suggestions.

The systems is an easy-to-use technology and a comman man has to press the buttons on his telephone to avail further information, Choksi said while demonstrating the functioning of the systems.

He dialed 1913 and registered a mock complaint for the fire department to immediately reach SMC building.

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