Police stations turned ticket counters on the eve of Kolkata Knight Riders' big celebration party following their second Indian Premier League triumph in three years at the recently concluded seventh edition of the cash-rich T20 league. According to reports, in a surprising move to please cricket fans, West Bengal sports minister Madan Mitra bowled a toe-crushing yorker by asking police officials in the city of Kolkata to distribute 36,000 tickets for massive celebrations planned at the Eden Gardens Stadium, where the state minister Mamata Banerjee will also be 'in action'. (Read: Mamata Banerjee Alters Tour for KKR Reception)
Mitra announced on Monday that unused tickets of the May 14 match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians, which was shifted to Cuttack from the Eden Gardens because of poll counting, were being used as passes and would soon reach all 69 police stations, from where they will be distributed to fans. <File photo> (Read: KKR Grand Felicitation at Eden Gardens on Tuesday)
However, a survey at about 8 pm in the night revealed that passes were yet to reach many of the police stations and this made fans queuing up outside for tickets edgy. The cops then announced that the distribution would begin by 9 pm even as the people waiting outside increased in number. Later, they said only one pass would be issued per person, that too on a first-come first-served basis. People from the city of joy, however, didn't budge and the queues only got longer. (Read: City of Kolkata Goes Euphoric After KKR's Blockbuster IPL Win)
Police officials were not happy at being given a job they didn't deserve to do and all they could do was complain. "As if providing adequate security at Eden Gardens was not enough, now we have to act as distributors. Is this policing?" said a senior officer.
"When will the distribution start? How long the passes be given?...Can a pass be collected on behalf of a relative? Should any proof of identity be produced? There's no end to the questions and requests," said another frustrated officer.
"In 2012, the CM (Mamata Banerjee) had asked for everyone to be let in. It was a miracle no one was injured, though we had to lathicharge," another officer said. This time, the cops are also taking down names and addresses of each person receiving the passes so that they can avoid possible trouble at Eden.