| The under-construction building of Ashok Cinema. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
The renovation of the 64-year-old Ashok Cinema has come under the scanner of the civic body in its drive against under-construction buildings.
Modernisation work on the second oldest cinema in Patna has stopped midway after a vigilance case was filed against the building in November.
The Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) has initiated vigilance cases against several buildings being constructed in violation of building byelaws. Ashok Cinema has also come under the PMC scanner. Depending on the final order, the cinema owners hope to reopen the facility on Buddha Marg by Dussehra 2014.
“Work on the superstructure of the six-storeyed building is complete. We were about to start the interior work when a vigilance case was initiated by the PMC. Two hearings in the case have been conducted at the court of the PMC commissioner. The pending work can be started only after the vigilance case is disposed of,” said Anand P.N. Singh alias Roshan, director, Ashok Chitra Pvt. Ltd.
The country’s first governor-general, C. Rajagopalachari, had inaugurated the original building of Ashok Cinema in 1949. It was converted into a centrally air-conditioned facility in 1974. The theatre has been closed for renovation from December 2010.
“We are developing a six-storeyed complex at the site of the old cinema. The ground, first and second floors will have the outlet of a retail brand. The third floor will have a gaming area, while the fourth floor will have the multiplex and food court. The fifth floor has been set aside for our administrative office,” said Roshan.
With the modernised Ashok Cinema, residents will get another 3D screen in the city after Cinepolis and Regent. Roshan said: “We will take around eight months to complete the work after we get clearance in the ongoing vigilance case.”
Sources in the PMC claimed that orders in the vigilance cases were expected to come in January or February 2014.
“Ashok Cinema symbolised movie-watching experience in our college days in the 1960s. I am eagerly waiting for the cinema to reopen so that I can relive those memories,” said Ashok Ghosh, a faculty member at AN College, Patna.