When Narendra Modi was taking oath as Gujarat chief minister at the Navrangpura Cricket Stadium for a fourth consecutive term, slum dwellers near Motera were rejoicing. It’s another matter that their joy had nothing to do with Modi’s coronation. The high-voltage India-Pakistan T20 encounter will be held here on Friday, and they were already striking deals for tickets.
As the ticket window opened on Wednesday morning, the impatient crowd went berserk after watching in despair touts selling tickets at 10 times the actual price.
Black marketing was clearly evident when a man residing in the surrounding area was seen asking Rs5,000 for a ticket of West pavilion priced at Rs1,000. He was also heard claiming that tickets priced at Rs200 were being sold at Rs1,000 but were not available even in the black market.
Stationed at the stadium, a senior police official, who didn’t wish to be named, told DNA that they were helpless as people living nearby had assembled here since midnight. Apparently, they bought tickets in a bulk. They were seen selling tickets at five times the actual price. The officer said that cricket in the city was Diwali time for slum-dwellers. ODI and T20s give them a rare opportunity to mint money.
Genuine cricket enthusiasts, some of whom travelled more than 400 kms, returned disappointed. One counter displayed the sold-out sign by noon. Someone like Sunil Rajput, who had come down all the way from Adipur (Kutch), was left a bitter man. He was imploring scribes to manage a couple of tickets either through black marketers or Gujarat Cricket Association officials. Eventually he gave up and trudged to the bus stop.
A few who came from as far as Panchmahals (eastern part of Gujarat) were plain unlucky. Counters were shut with just five people ahead of them in the queue.
Others were taken for a ride. Ram Kumar Singh, security supervisor with a leading life insurance company, said, “I paid Rs2,000 for two West Pavilion tickets but got only one torn ticket. When I requested for a second ticket, they shut the window on me.”
The GCA, on Wednesday, had decided to open two ticket counters at Bank of India (BOI) and Indian Bank (IB).
Apparently, they wanted to bring in transparency in ticket sales and negate black marketing.
Surely, they must be left scratching their heads now.