KOLKATA (TIP): The stage is set for the Eden Gardens to witness another round of wild celebrations when IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders are jointly felicitated by the state government and the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) on Tuesday afternoon.
A similar felicitation ceremony had been held at the Eden Gardens two years ago when KKR had won the IPL title for the first time in 2012, defeating the Chennai Super Kings in the final. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who was among the first to congratulate the KKR team and its principal owner Shah Rukh Khan after their splendid win over Kings XI Punjab in the final in Bangalore on Sunday night, is expected to attend the hour-long function.
The chief minister also congratulated Bengal-lad Wriddhiman Saha, who hit a brilliant unbeaten 115 in KXIP’s losing cause. “Congratulations… KKR, Congratulations… shahrukh, Congratulations to Wriddhiman for his brilliant performance,” the chief minister posted on her Facebook page.
A host of dignitaries have been invited to attend Tuesday’s programme, which is being jointly organized by the state sports and youth affairs department, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Kolkata Police and the CAB. “The programme at the Eden will commence at 1 pm on Tuesday,” informed state sports minister Madan Mitra. “We appeal to all sports lovers to come to the Eden Gardens to attend the programme, passes for which can be collected from police stations.” KKR players will be presented special gifts to mark their landmark victory.
However, there will be no road show this time around, the minister said. Kolkata Police are distributing 36,000 passes for the mega victory celebrations at Eden Gardens in less than half-a-day. The cops are apparently facing huge issues with the cops announced that the distribution process would begin by 9 PM. Next, they said only one pass would be issued to each person on a first-come-first-served basis.
Needless to say, the queues got longer. The last-minute chaos has infuriated senior cops, but all they could do was grumble. “As if providing adequate security (at Eden) was not enough, now we have to act as distributors. Is this policing?” fumed a senior officer. “I have been inundated with calls, with each caller making a different request: ‘When will the distribution start? Can a pass be collected on behalf of a relative? Should any proof of identity be produced? There’s simply no end to the questions and requests.
I don’t know how to handle the situation,” said another exasperated senior officer from the southeast division. Even Lalbazar, the city police headquarters, was not spared the cacophony of queries. “In 2012, the chief minister had asked everyone to be let in. It was a miracle that no one was injured, though we had to lathi-charge,” said an officer, not wishing to be named.
Thousands of fans gave KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir and his ‘Knights’ a rousing welcome on their arrival at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose international airport on Monday evening. Gambhir, holding the glittering IPL trophy, was among the first to emerge, followed by other team members. The loudest cheers were reserved for Robin Uthappa, who emerged as the tournament’s top scorer with 660 runs.
Only West Indies player Sunil Narine and South African Morne Morkel, who have returned home, could not make the trip. The city erupted in joy on Sunday night soon after Piyush Chawla hit the winning boundary at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore. KKR supporters burst firecrackers and danced on the streets past midnight with KKR’s hugely popular theme song ‘Korbo, Lorbo, Jeetbo Re’ blaring from loud speakers.