Heightened security did not deter black marketeers from having a field day at the Sardar Patel Stadium here during the India-Australia World Cup quarterfinal on Thursday.
The plausibility of a terror threat saw security, both inside and outside the stadium at an unprecedented high. However black marketeeers seemed unperturbed, almost thumbing their nose at the cops swarming all over the place, as they went about their business shouting and selling tickets for a price. And what a price!
Cricket lovers had braved lathi charges for tickets but in vain days earlier when bookings opened. On Thursday they uneasily watched the spectacle of the ‘blackies’ ruling the roost.
The lowest ticket of Rs.100 in the public stand was going for Rs.3,000 and above per ticket at noon - the rate the tickets were sold in the black market during the last couple of days. The officially priced Rs.3,000 ticket had buyers even at Rs.15,000 to Rs.20,000.
The open black-marketing in cricket match tickets left cricket lovers upset, more so because Chief Minister Narendra Modi, himself the president of the Gujarat Cricket Association, is the host for the match. The ICC chief executive, Haroon Logart, had also gone on record to tell media persons in Ahmedabad on Wednesday that the cricket council viewed black-marketing of tickets very seriously.
What has disappointed cricket lovers is that the genuine of the lot had to face police lathi charge to buy tickets from official counters which pulled down shutters in less than two hours displaying the “sold out” sign. And yet on the day of the match it was the black marketer who had a field day regardless.
The GCA had stated that more than 19,000 tickets had been kept for window sale and the buyers would be given only two tickets per person.
This went contrary to Sports and Culture Minister Fakirbhai Vaghela’s assurance in the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha that the government would take all necessary steps to prevent black-marketing in the cricket match tickets.