Chandigarh on a high this World Cup

By Alkesh Sharma, IANS
Sunday, February 20, 2011

CHANDIGARH - Television sets for inmates of a jail, special screens at prominent tourist places, a signature campaign to wish luck to the ‘Men in Blue’…this union territory has pulled out all stops to enjoy the Cricket World Cup 2011 extravaganza.

In a one-of-its-kind initiative, TV sets have been provided at the high-security Burail jail here so that inmates can watch the matches.

Besides, special screens are being erected at prominent tourist places and a signature campaign is being initiated to wish luck to the Indian team.

“We have installed around 20 television sets in Burail Jail. We want that the prisoners do not feel alienated and can also enjoy the game. This is our attempt to bring them to the mainstream,” Inspector General (Prisons) H.S. Doon told IANS.

“If the prisoners sit together to watch the matches, it would cultivate in them a spirit of camaraderie and brotherhood,” said Doon, who is also senior superintendent of police (security and traffic).

“We are also planning to celebrate India’s win in crucial matches by distributing sweets among the jail inmates,” he added.

Many dreaded criminals, including terrorists Jagtar Singh Hawara and Paramjit Singh Bheora, convicted for assassinating then Punjab chief minister Beant Singh in 1995, are also lodged in Burail Jail. Over 530 criminals are lodged in the jail.

Said Chandigarh home-cum-tourism secretary Ram Niwas:

“Cricket is one of the most prominent sports in India and it obviously unites the masses. During the matches, you can easily find queues of people glued in front of TV sets at various places.”

“Therefore, we have decided to take this opportunity to promote tourism at important destinations like Sukhna Lake and Sector 17 plaza (the commercial hub of Chandigarh) where big screens will be installed,” Niwas said.

“Thousands of tourists, both domestic and foreign, visit these places every day and they can enjoy the World Cup action live on these screens,” he added.

Niwas said the Chandigarh administration has also started a signature campaign for conveying best wishes to the Indian cricket team to bring home the World Cup trophy.

Chandigarh’s legal fraternity is likewise affected by the cricket fever.

They have made special arrangements to watch the matches.

“LCD screens have been installed at the bar room of the Punjab and Haryana High Court so that lawyers can enjoy the matches,” said Daman Boriwal, a high court lawyer.

“Around 800 lawyers can sit in the bar room to watch the matches. We are also planning to invite judges to watch some important matches,” he added.

Hostellers staying at various colleges and at the Panjab University campus have also made elaborate arrangements to enjoy the cricket matches.

“We were eagerly awaiting the start of the World Cup. We will see these matches on the LCD screen installed in our hostel’s common room,” said Harmanjit Singh Deol, a research scholar staying at the Panjab University hostel.

“We have planned to hire a dhol (drummer) during matches featuring India, and it would be used to cheer on every four or six,” he added.

“We want India to repeat the feat of 1983. We have many hopes from Sachin Tendulkar. There will be a big bash at the Panjab University grounds if India lifts the cup,” said Hemant Singh, a law student.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at

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