Security blanket for World Cup match at Kotla

Posted By: Pti

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) The Ferozeshah Kotla Stadiumhere, which will host four World Cup matches, has been turnedinto a virtual fortress with Delhi police personnel,gun-totting commandos and private security guards leavingnothing to chance ahead of Wednesday''s South Africa-WestIndies clash.

International cricket has returned to Kotla following aone-year ban imposed by the ICC after the India-Sri Lanka tiewas abandoned in December 2009 due to unplayable pitch, andthe Delhi District Cricket Association (DDCA) officials areleaving no stone unturned to make the event a memorable onefor the Delhittes.

The media is being frisked at multiple points beforeentering the venue. Metal detectors, DDCA officials and armedsecurity guards are dotting the entry-exit points.

Barring accredited ICC and DDCA officials, no one isallowed to enter the field inside the Kotla, where pitchcurator Radhe Shyam could be seen working tirelessly in themiddle of the lush green ground.

The central government''s disaster management force hasalso been deployed in and around the stadium while Delhipolice senior officials could be seen briefing hundreds ofvolunteers ahead of cricket''s biggest extravaganza.

Guards hired from city''s private security agencies werealso seen conducting a mock drill.

"We have made tight security arrangements and has put inplace all the safety measures to avoid any untoward incident.

The disaster management team is also here, we have got largenumber of volunteers whom we are briefing on daily basis. Wehave also heavily guarded the entry-exit points so that onlyaccredited people can get access," said a Delhi policeofficer.

"We are expecting a large turnout for the matches and weare ready for the event," he added.

Last week on Saturday, security and other agencies hadconducted a mock drill at the stadium to check theirpreparedness in case of any eventuality.

Rains in the past few days have made things difficult forthe DDCA but the officials are confident of hostinghassle-free matches.

"One can''t do anything with the rains but if weatherpermits, we are confident of providing Delhi people a goodouting," said a DDCA official.

There are three other matches to be played in Delhi --West Indies-Netherlands (February 28); Canada-Kenya (March 7)and India-Netherlands (March 9).

Ticket sales, which began on Saturday, are priced betweenRs 575 and 9,200. The stadium''s seating capacity is 41,000 andtickets have also been sold through select Bank of Maharashtrabranches in the capital.

Story first published: Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 0:00 [IST]
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