On Wednesday, it was a tale of two cricket stadiums in Ahmedabad. When Narendra Modi was taking oath as chief minister for the fourth time at the Navrangpura cricket Stadium, slum-dwellers near Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium in Motera area were rejoicing. But their joy had nothing to do with Modi’s coronation as chief minister.
The slum-dwellers were haggling over tickets of the high-voltage India-Pakistan T20 encounter scheduled for Friday. When the window of the ticket counter opened on Wednesday morning, there was complete chaos. The impatient crowd went berserk in despair when it saw touts selling tickets at as much as ten times their actual price.
Tickets were clearly being sold in black. This reporter heard a resident of the area asking for Rs5,000 for a ticket for the West pavilion priced at Rs1,000. He was also heard saying that tickets priced at Rs200 were selling at Rs1,000 and yet were not available even in black.
A police officer stationed at the stadium who didn’t wish to be named told DNA that they could not do much as people living nearby had been waiting there since midnight and had bought the bulk of tickets. Later, they could be seen selling the tickets at five times their actual price. He further said that it was like Diwali for slum-dwellers who consider cricket matches, especially One Day and T20 fixtures, as a time to make some money.
Genuine cricket lovers, many of whom had travelled more than 400 km just to buy a ticket for the Friday match, were in for a big disappointment. One of the counters had sold out by 12 noon. For people like Sunil Rajput, who had come all the way from Adipur (Kutch), it was a big let down.
When he saw us with our I-card, he approached us for help in getting tickets for him, either through sources at GCA or on the black market. However, when neither of options was entertained, he left disappointed.