Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Cricket frenzy overtook the Millennium City ahead of the T20I match between India and South Africa at Barabati Stadium on June 12 as the situation went out of control leading to a stampede like situation during the offline ticket sale on Wednesday.

By the time the nine counters opened, the area was already packed to the brim with more than 12,000 people jostling and pushing one another to get ahead in the queue to purchase tickets.

Situation went out of the control mostly at counter number 3 which was meant for women. The queues derailed and the women fans jostled and pushed one another leading to a chaos. Tension gripped the area as some of them even came to blows. Police had to resort to lathi charge to disperse the crowd to keep the situation under control.

“We have been waiting here since 3 am last night. However, the management has been worse here and police are not able to maintain discipline and law and order in the counters. The queues have been derailed and we are frustrated and helpless now,” said a woman fan.

Elaborate security arrangement with 10 platoons of police forces on duty went for a toss as they failed to ensure law and order during the offline ticket sale.

“It’s a complete failure of management. Those who don’t have any kind of knowledge about cricket have crowded the place leading to a chaos. We have been waiting here patiently for last 10 hours to purchase tickets. But now we are hopeless,” said another fan.

Earlier, fans from every nook and canny of Odisha thronged the counter and made a beeline from Wednesday night itself to purchase tickets in order to enjoy the high voltage clash between the hosts and the visitors.

As many as nine counters have been set up--seven for male and two for female fans. While a total of 12,000 tickets will be sold through counters, the norm for selling of tickets is ‘two tickets per buyer’. A fan can only purchase two tickets by producing any of his identity proofs. The offline ticket sales will continue for two days starting from today.

While 5,000 tickets have already been sold off through online, 8,000 tickets have been sold to clubs, schools and other organisations associated with the Odisha Cricket Association (OCA).