Why is Eden not hosting an India game sir? (World Cup Diary)

February 16th, 2011 - 4:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina By Sirshendu Panth
Dhaka, Feb 16 (IANS) The fact that the iconic Eden Gardens is not hosting an India match in the Feb 19-April 2 World Cup has disappointed fans not just in Kolkata but also in Bangladesh. Two officers manning the immigration desk at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport were aghast.

“Eden Gardens is such a beautiful ground. Why should it not host an India match in the World Cup? Were the conditions that bad? Or is there some other reason?” asked a curious Yunus.

His colleague Sarwar added: “This is tragic. Did the local organisers delay everything? But still it could have been given the India-England game (Feb 27) or some other match.”

When told that changing fixtures at such a late stage would have been a logistical nightmare, apart from the huge cost involved, Sarwar said: “Maybe. But what about the Eden crowd… All Bangladeshis are sad that people of Kolkata will not be able to see India play at Eden Gardens.”

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Welcome to the land of peasants

Corporates and banks in Bangladesh have come forward in a big way to make the cricket World Cup, kicking off with a grand inaugural ceremony here Thursday, a success.

They have coined catchy slogans, pumped money in beautification efforts and put up banners and hoardings at every nook and corner of Dhaka. A cutout put up near the Airport by the Islami Bank woos visitors with the catchy line: “Welcome to the land of peasants.”

A welcome arch on one of the roads says: “Amader Desh, amra sajai.” (It is our country, let us make it beautiful).

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Where have all the beggars gone?

Dhaka, like in any developing country, has had its share of beggars. Clearly not during the World Cup, however.

Visiting journalists and other officials were surprised to find that beggars had been taken off the streets. Somebody said the government has removed all beggars from the city to improve the country’s image before foreign guests. In return they are being given — reportedly — a decent daily allowance as compensation.

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New airport, new name

Visitors to Dhaka for the cricket World Cup are being welcomed by a vastly spruced up and refurbished international airport, which has also got a new name. The airport was earlier named after former president Zia-Ul-Haq and has now been rechristened after a Sufi saint from Sylhet, Hazrat Shah Jalal. Zia-Ul-Haq was the husband of former Bangladesh prime minister Khaleda Zia, the bete noire of incumbent Sheikh Hasina.

(Sirshendu Panth can be contacted at s.panth@ians.in)

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