Bangalore: Apr 7, 2012
As summer gets underway with hot days but cooler nights, the entertaining cricket season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) got off to a start Saturday in the garden city here with Royal Challengers Bangalore taking on Delhi Daredevils under tight vigil and fool-proof security.
The city police have made elaborate security arrangements at the M. Chinnaswamy stadium in the central business district to regulate frenzied fans and chaotic vehicular traffic.
"We have deployed in and around the stadium about 1,200 policemen, including three deputy commissioners of police (DCPs), 21 assistant commissioners of police (ACPs), 40 inspectors, 92 sub-inspectors, 800 men in plain clothes, bomb defusing/disposal squads, dog squads and quick reaction teams to prevent any untoward incident," additional commissioner of police T. Sunil Kumar told IANS hours ahead of the game under a partly cloudy sky.
The Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) has also taken stringent measures to ensure the game goes on free of hassles with about 200 private security guards and bouncers posted in and around the stadium, especially in the pavilion arena.
"We have also fitted about 80 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in and around the stadium to monitor the movement of fans and others. Entry of people and vehicles will be videographed for security reasons and to check black-marketing of tickets," a senior KSCA official told IANS.
KSCA is headed by the state's legendary cricketers former Indian captain and ace leggie Anil Kumble and former speedster Javagal Srinath as its president and secretary, respectively.
"To avoid a repeat of the panic caused by two low-intensity blasts outside the stadium in April 2010 during the IPL-3 season, we have installed metal detectors at the entry gates around the stadium and directed our men to frisk every fan. Barring drinking water plastic bottles and caps, fans will not be allowed to carry bags or other objects into the stands," Kumar asserted.
Though the first IPL match of this season is being held on a weekend, annual or public examinations for college and school students and extended holidays since Thursday have kept away the die-hard fans from thronging the stadium. It was evident from the moderate and orderly turnout of fans for spot-tickets at the counters.
"Initial response is lukewarm but it picks up as the league matches progress and turns into a rush if the home team (RCB) plays well and keeps winning with all-round performance," the KSCA official noted.
As host team, Royal Challengers will play eight matches during the next five weeks on home turf, with an equal number of matches away across the country. (IANS)