Mrunal Manmay Dash

Thousands of Indian hockey fans were left disappointed on Monday after they failed to buy tickets for the inaugural ceremony and the first match of India scheduled on January 13 against Spain.

The chaos in ticket counters at both Bhubaneswar and Rourkela was like a revisit to the 2018 Hockey World Cup when a glitch in the online ticketing system made hockey fans fume after they failed to get tickets for their favourite team.

As per reports, the offline ticket counters opened at least 90 minutes late on Monday in Bhubaneswar at around 11 am. However, the fans who queued up at the counters before sunrise were left dejected after the personnel at the ticket counter said that there are no tickets available for either the inaugural event or the first India match on January 13.

Not even that, the tickets for quarter final, semis and the final were also not sold on Monday.

A hockey fan in Bhubaneswar, Jitesh Kumar Balabantaray said, “There is utter chaos at the ticket counter. Only one person with a laptop is sitting behind the window to cater to thousands of ticket aspirants. And he too is eating paani puris inside the counter. The State government has made it an utter joke.”

Similar scenes were witnessed in Rourkela too. The ticket sale begun late and tickets for India matches were sold out minutes after the opening of the counter.

A hockey fan, Laxmi Kumar Patra from Rourkela said, “I do not think I will ever be able to watch an India match here in the stadium. The tickets are out of bounds for us. They are only selling tickets for foreign matches.”

However, Odisha Chief Secretary, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra said, “The primary reason of people not getting offline tickets is more than half of all the tickets have already been sold online. More than 11,000 tickets out of 20,000 have already been sold online.”

Sixteen elite hockey teams from across the globe will participate in 44 matches at two state-of-the-art Odisha venues -- the new ‘jewel’ of hockey, the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela with a seating capacity of over 20,000, and the iconic Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar with a sitting capacity of over 15,000.

(Reported By Niranjan Reddy & Pawan Tiwari, OTV)