Mumbaikars welcoms year 2008

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Mumbai, Jan 1 (UNI) Mumbaikars thronged the beaches and streets besides visiting hotels and discos to usher in the New Year-2008, across the city at midnight last night.

The new year celebrations spilled to the early hours with the Maharashtra government permitting the revellers to stay longer and greet each other.

The pious ones queued up in front of temples to invoke the blessings of the almighty for a bright 2008.

Thousands of people were gathered at the horizon of Arabian sea in the down-town to greet each other. The hotels, restaurants and bars had made special arrangements for customers. To control the flow of customers, hotels were taking entry fees and they also hiked liquor rates.

While in the morning, people thronged the temples like Siddhivinayak, Mahalaxmi and Mumbadevi to offer ''pooja''.

One of the devotees at Siddhivinayak temple, Ms Pramila Chand said, ''We have a group of women, who used to walk down to Siddivinayak temple every Monday night to offer ''pooja'' on Tuesday. Usually, it took two-three hours to offer ''pooja'' but, today it took around five hours.'' To celebrate the new year, the State Government had given permission to hoteliers to run their business till morning.

The reveller groups in southern parts of the city, especially at Fountain and Colaba area were so hugh that it was difficult to move, however, enjoyment of the night was not disturbed.

Celebrities, including Mallika Sherawat, Rakhi Sawant, Mikka and others entertained the high class society eve at star hotels in the city with their sizzling performances.

The police had strengthened the security arrangements to ensure peaceful celebrations. The traffic police has registered 7,922 cases of drunken driving and recovered fine of Rs 3,75,800 since last night, said police.

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