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Cheapskate gallery

The culture of self-styled VIPs demanding and getting ‘free’ passes is alive, well and spreading

india Updated: Feb 15, 2011 23:16 IST
Hindustan Times

India is a haven for those making a pass and getting one too. Something as innocuous as a concert by a past-his-expiry-date pop star brings the freeloaders out of the woodwork. So, on Monday, citing their inability to control “security and traffic concerns”, the Delhi Police revoked the no-objection certificate earlier issued to organisers for a Bryan Adams concert scheduled for Tuesday night at the National Small Industries Corporation Grounds in Delhi’s Okhla Industrial Area.

(It’s now apparently been shifted to Gurgaon, Haryana, on Sunday.) Why? Because the organisers reportedly exceeded the limit of 6,000 tickets by about 4,000. We can bet our rickety rendition of ‘Summer of 69’ that the culprit for this over-capacity is the unofficially mandatory doling out of passes to those who see a ‘free entry’ not as an invitation to below the poverty line Bryan Adams fans but as a status symbol that fat cats and self-styled VIPs can flaunt.

But it’s not Delhi alone. In Mumbai, mayor Shraddha Jadhav wants free tickets for “all [227] corporators, chairmen of various committees of the [Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation], some senior officials and a few mediapersons”. On top of that, she has ‘asked’ for a separate gallery that can accommodate the 300-350 people with ‘free tickets’. Even Bangalore has caught on to this racket with corporators demanding ‘free’ entry to the World Cup matches that will be hosted at the Chinnaswamy Stadium — as the Bangalore stadium is a BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) property, it is a ‘natural sponsor’ of the matches there.

With such a feudal and fashionable demand, it makes little sense for organisers to not cut corners — and get venues shifted last minute by officials fearing chaos. Or perhaps upset that they, the officials, have not got enough ‘free’ passes to make them look the other way.