Cricket mania sweeps Chandigarh

Politics, diplomacy and cricket will all converge as the President of India, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, captains of industry, Bollywood stars, bureaucrats and politicians come here to watch the super-charged India-Pakistan cricket World Cup semi-final at the Mohali stadium on March 30,2011. The Tricity, comprising Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula, will practically be the national capital for the next two days.

The Tribune, Chandigarh, March 29, 2011

Intense speculation abounds about where the two Prime Ministers — Dr Manmohan Singh of India and Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan — will meet and what they will talk about. It is now known where they will stay. President Patil is expected to stay at the Haryana Raj Bhavan and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the sprawling Punjab Raj Bhavan while Prime Minister Gilani of Pakistan will stay where his team is — at Taj Chandigarh. The Indian team is staying at the Mountview Hotel in the heart of the city. For others, accommodation is woefully inadequate — there are simply too few rooms available.

Chandigarh’s residents are flooded with calls from “friends” many of whom they have not spoken to for years, requesting either accommodation or to somehow manage a ticket or a pass. As of now, scalpers are having a field day with a Rs 200 ticket reportedly going for Rs 25,000 in the blackmarket.

The Tricity has become a high-security zone with thousands of policemen engaged in security and VIP duty. Chandigarh has never seen anything like this before and is unlikely to do so in the near future. For the moment, it is enjoying its place under the sun.

This item by Roopinder Singh was published in The Tribune on march 29, 2011.

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