Chandigarh turns into a fortress for Indo-Pak match

Written by Preeti Parashar | Chandigarh | Updated: Mar 30 2011, 06:40am hrs
All roads leading to Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium in Mohali where the second semifinal of World Cup will be played between India and Pakistan on Wednesday. Chandigarh has turned into a fortress. Hotels are running packed for two days not only in Chandigarh but also at Panchkula, Mohali and Parwanoo.

With Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani coming to view the match, over 2,000 police personnel and guards have been deployed to secure the PCA stadium. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Prinyanka Vadra and her hubby Robert Vadra are also in the invitee list. Union ministers P Chidambaram, Veerappa Moily; celebrities like Preity Zinta, Shilp Shetty and business tycoon Mukesh Ambani are also expected to arrive in the city on Tuesday before the India-Pakistan match.

Around a thousand police personnel are guarding only the Taj Hotel in Chandigarh as both the Indian and Pakistan cricket teams are staying there. Saera Dhir, sales and marketing head at Hotel Taj told FE that all the 149 rooms are occupied for the next 3-4 days. We have no more rooms for new bookings for the next three-four days. The cricket teams have been staying at Taj earlier as well and this time too they are our guests, she said.

Around 400 rooms are reserved by the Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) for the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials, celebrities, telecast crew and other corporate teams for March 29 and 30. CITCO general manager AK Malhotra informed, At our hotel Mountview about 120 of the total 155 rooms have been booked for the officials and all 102 rooms at Shivalikview have been reserved. Apart from the corporate clients Preity Zinta and Shilpa Shetty are expected to stay in our hotels.

As many people from Pakistan are also heading to Chandigarh all hotels ranging from budget to five star category have been flooded with reservation calls for the last ten days. Even the government guest houses have been booked by those coming for the match and few denizens will be playing host to the Pakistanis as well. Hotels in the adjoining city of Panchkula are also witnessing rush for bookings. Jaskirat Singh Nagra, vice president, Bella Vista, Panchkula said, We have 50 rooms and all are occupied. We got the reservations in January only. We have Nike global corporate team, a few celebrities and industrial houses who'll be staying with us for the next three-four days.

Amidst the euphoria few people are making quick bucks by selling the match tickets for lakhs of rupees. And for the cricket crazy people that we Indians are it seems a pity amount to pay for the match termed important than the finale of the World Cup.