Bhubaneswar: The Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) has set up 67 screens across the city to ensure that hockey enthusiasts are able to see every piece of the action during the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup.
The earlier plan was to install only 20 screens, but the BMC later decided to set up 67 screens in different wards. Citing shortage of tickets and passes, officials said the government is leaving no stone unturned to make hockey reach each and every individual.
“The response we got during the opening day of the ticket sales was overwhelming. After knowing that many fans wouldn’t get tickets to the matches and the opening ceremony we decided to increase viewing screens,” said Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena. Jena also said the original plan was to set up viewing screens only at Patia, Sahid Nagar, Chandrasekharpur, Jaydev Vihar, outside Kalinga Stadium, Khandagiri area, Jagamara, Pokhariput, Old Town and Nayapalli, but now it has been extended to almost all wards in the city.
Broadening the idea of ‘Odisha by Day and Hockey by Night,’ Sahid Nagar Corporator Saswati Mishra said, “The idea is to build a fan park like that of Indian Premier League (IPL) to attract crowds by arranging sports events along with the viewing of the hockey matches.”
“We have put LEDs, projectors and LCDs everywhere. All matches will be directly telecast, and we have also arranged backup generators. We have also decided to distribute refreshments to those who come to watch the matches,” she added.
The BMC’s zeal for the Hockey World Cup seems to have struck the right chord as sources reported that about 785 people visited fan parks during India’s opening match with South Africa. These numbers are expected to increase during coming matches and the finals.
“I don’t have a TV at home. So I was a bit concerned when I failed to get tickets. But this is a great move as I would be able to see the matches live,” said Sandeep Mitra, a resident of Nayapalli.