IMPHAL, November 28: Complete mayhem broke out at the entrance of the Sangai Festival at Palace Compound Pureiromba area this afternoon.
Visitors mainly women and children jam-packed the entrance as there was complete disorder as tickets had already ran out by 2:30 pm. However, the VIPs had no problem as they drove in amongst the crowd with complete ease and it was only the public which was left to fend for themselves to gain entry.
Unlike other days, thousands were seen lined up for tickets at the Pureiromba Khongnang area as the ticket counters had closed down by 2:30 pm approximately. The visitors had stood in queues for more than an hour when it was ultimately announced that the tickets had sold out.
The irate crowd tore down the banner of the Globiz ticketing agency and mobbed the entrance of the Sangai festival.
As a result, the queue broke and the police had to let in the visitors without tickets. There was no proper checking done, resulting to a complete breakdown of security measures.
A Globiz ticket usher told this reporter that they were ordered by a DIG of the Police department to close down the sales when the tickets sale reaches 30,000.
It may be mentioned that the ticket counter closed down by 2.30 pm and one has to assume that the said capacity was reached by the time.
However, there was no dearth of tickets at the peripheral areas, as black marketers sold tickets worth Rs 20 at a rate of Rs 100 and going upto Rs 250.
The tickets which were sold in black were the genuine bar coded ones. Police had even nabbed a person selling tickets and express suspicion that the source may be from the Globiz ticketing agency itself.
The Globiz agency shares the revenue of the ticket sale with the State government: Globiz takes 60 percent and the remaining goes to the government, according to an official of the agency.
It is also learnt that only 10 tickets were sold online today.
This is a clear example that the major chunk of revenue generated from the public goes to a private firm and the State government cannot even handle the task of selling festival tickets.
From around 4 pm onwards, there were huge traffic congestions and the visitors kept piling up on both the Southern and Northern entrances to the main venue of the festival. Despite the tickets running out at around 2.30 pm, thousands came bearing tickets still. When asked where the tickets were from, many of them said that they bought it from the black marketers. As such, the swamping of visitors gave a tough time to the police and both sides faced harassment.
A senior police officer at the gate told this reporter that it is a must for the Sangai venue to be changed from next year.
It may be mentioned that the Shillong Choir also voiced similar sentiments and said that BOAT amphitheatre is too small for musical shows.
Many sections from the public also exclaimed that the venue is overcrowded and there is no feeling of comfort when one goes for a festival seeking healthy entertainment.
“We are coming from Thoubal with our families, our small children to witness the festival. The way we are being treated by the security, and risking life and limb to gain entrance to the Sangai festival is a big insult to the public. It is a simple harassment and incompetency of the State administration” said, Sunita, a visitor.
It was witnessed that many vehicles including commercial vehicles inclusive of diesel autos were found flaunting ‘VIP’’ passes and gaining easy access while the public had to literally risk injury to get in.