The doors of Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the West Bengal Governor, were opened for cricket lovers on Sunday amid the ticket distribution row.
A number of cricket fans had approached Governor CV Ananda Bose complaining that they were “unable” to get tickets for Sunday’s World Cup match between India and Proteas at Kolkata’s Eden Gardens at an “affordable price”.
On Sunday afternoon, like a good host, Governor Bose, dressed in Indian team jersey, sat with the around 500 people to watch the match live on a giant screen installed inside the premises of the two-century-old British building as India and South Africa cricketers played in the nearby stadium.
“We thought that this way more people could watch the match, some from inside the Eden Gardens, and some from the Raj Bhavan. With Raj Bhavan situated near the Eden Gardens, I thought to open it for people and share the excitement of cricket with them. This is not Raj Bhavan, this is Jana Raj Bhavan. My mission is to make people feel that Raj Bhavan is their second home,” said Bose.
Sources said that soon after Bose announced that he would host people to watch the match live on a giant screen inside the Raj Bhavan on Saturday and people could apply for entry online, the inbox of the given email got filled very soon.
“I was thrilled to get a reply from the Raj Bhavan. I brought my son along with me. While I was interested in the match, he was more excited to visit the Raj Bhavan. We are enjoying the match here,” Vikas Saraf, 33, said.
His son Samarth said, “I feel lucky. I would say everyone should get a chance to visit Raj Bhavan.”
“It’s the closest one can get to the Eden Gardens. We tried our best to get the tickets but couldn’t.
So, we decided to watch the match here,” said another cricket fan Nitish Agarwal.
Bose also distributed sweets to people to celebrate the birthday of Virat Kohli, who scored a century. There were also arrangements of food and snacks for the audience.
During the occasion, Bose also announced the launch of Governor’s Century Group, under which 100 children with cricketing talent will be identified and nurtured. “The school authorities will assess their potential talents and a grand jury will make the final selection. The Raj Bhavan will coordinate with the coaches and training institutions and facilitate the grooming of the members of Century Group,” a statement issued by the Raj Bhavan said.
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“The Governor has appointed a team of experts to study the possibility of providing facilities on the Raj Bhavan campuses in Kolkata, Darjeeling and Barrackpore,” the statement added.
The members of the Century Group will be given an award of Rs 10,000/ each, a plaque, and a certificate. “They will also be included in the Governor’s Century Group for further assistance in a need-based manner. A similar initiative will also be launched among university students,” the Raj Bhavan said.
After India defeated South Africa, Bose said: “It is a proud moment for India and it is a proud moment for sports too. Narendra Modi’s concept of Atma Nirbhar Bharat is being realised in every field… We are particularly thankful to BCCI for making it happen for the people of West Bengal and India.”