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Cricket fans simmer in anger in Kolkata

Fans in Kolkata equally crazy about cricket and football are an angry lot.

Despite queuing up for hours, much before the counters opened many could not lay their hands on a ticket for the next Indian Premier League march between King Khan's Knight Riders led by Sourav Ganguly and the Mumbai Indians led by Sachin Tendulkar.

This is one match nobody wants to miss because the two veterans will be playing on opposite sides.

The tickets sold out at the blink of an eye by Friday. A day earlier there were unseemly scenes outside the Eden Gardens with cricket enthusiasts cursing the Cricket Association of Bengal for not being able to provide adequate number of tickets. Cricket fans clashed with the police repeatedly. Angry people, mostly young demanded to know how all the low-priced tickets could possibly have been sold out in half an hour flat.

The youth complained that something was amiss. The combination of King Khan, Sourav Ganguly and spectacle of the IPL matches has pushed up demand for tickets. Many who had thought of buying low end tickers ended up buying higher priced tickets.

Cricket fans vented their anger on the policemen posted at the Eden Gardens, who in turn chased them away wielding lathis. The heat wave conditions in Kolkata, where two people have died, made matters worse. The scene near Eden Gardens has been over the past few days one of absolute chaos.

Things took a turn for the worse when the police on duty spotted black marketers. They lurked near at hand waiting for disappointed fans to come out of the queue before approaching them. The police rounded up 22 racketeers including two women over the last two days for selling tickets at a premium.

A few days ago the Kolkata Police busted a betting racket. A number of people were arrested and television sets seized.

The IPL matches have generated unprecedented enthusiasm in Kolkata, blackout at the Eden Gardens notwithstanding. An embarrassed West Bengal government set up a probe panel and all it managed to do was chalk out a number of recommendations for the police the CAB, the PWD, CESC- the power generating agency and the ground staff.

Measures are being put in place to ensure that future matches of the IPL are conducted smoothly. Only the next match will tell whether the measures adopted are full proof.

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