Houseful in Chandigarh for India-Pakistan clash


Chandigarh : It is already houseful in and around Chandigarh for March 30 when the semifinal of the Cricket World Cup take place. Hotels are completely packed ahead of the clash between India and Pakistan.

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Amid the euphoria over the match at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium in Mohali, hotels of all hues – budget or upscale ones – have been blocked for March 29 and 30.

Mohali town is 10 km from here. And visitors will find that getting a hotel room is near impossible.

More than half of the room inventory is reserved for the playing teams, officials and staff from the International Cricket Council (ICC), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) at Chandigarh’s top level hotels – Hotel Taj and Mountview.

“We have set aside more than 120 rooms at Mountview and 70 at Shivalikview for PCA officials,” Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) general manager Arvind Malhotra told IANS.

“In addition to this, keeping at least 15 percent of the rooms booked for our corporate clients is a routine affair. Mostly, these bookings run two-three months in advance,” he said.

“Considering so many reservations this month, it has become difficult to accommodate other clients. Our booking counters have been flooded with reservation calls for the last 15 days,” Malhotra added.

The situation is similar at Hotel Taj where the two teams would be staying.

Nearly 70 percent of the rooms available for general visitors had been booked two months ahead of the start of World Cup in February.

“Our clientele with BCCI or ICC is not a new thing,” Saera Dhir, sales and marketing head at Hotel Taj, told IANS.

“During big matches and series, it becomes difficult to cater to the general clients. Like now, for the last one week, we have been explaining the unavailability of rooms to at least 50 clients who seek bookings per day,” she said.

Even government guest houses, three-star and budget hotels have all been booked by those coming for the match.

It is not only hotels in Chandigarh that have been booked for the teams, officials, media and those coming for watching the match. Rooms are not available even in adjoining towns of Panchkula and Mohali.

The bookings at major hotels, including Bella Vista and North Park, in Panchkula, about 15 km from here, have been done till March 30.

In fact, the North Park resort is located over 25 km from the PCA stadium.

“We could not get any bookings in Chandigarh or Mohali. The room we got was at a resort nearly 25 km from the stadium. But we don’t mind as long as we can enjoy the excitement of the match in the stadium,” Delhi-based businessman Rohit Chopra said.