India-Pakistan match venue turns into fortress

March 29th, 2011 - 11:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Mohali/Chandigarh, March 29 (IANS) With nearly 4,000 security personnel, over 150 CCTV cameras and helicopters keeping an eye, the venue of Wednesday’s cricket World Cup semifinal between India and Pakistan resembled a fortress.

Punjab Police have also cordoned off the entire area falling in the nearly 2.5-km radius around the the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) stadium where the day-night match would be played, with prime ministers of the two playing nations in the sepectators’ stands.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be here to watch the match along with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Barricades have been installed and no vehicle, without a special entry pass, will be allowed beyond points at 2.5 km from the stadium.

To avoid inconvenience to the residents, who live in the vicinity of the stadium, police have issued them special passes.

Punjab Police’s bomb disposal squad, an additional bomb disposal team and a truck of India Army is also stationed near the stadium to handle emergency situations. Skies above the PCA stadium has been declared a no-fly zone Wednesday.

Security agencies were using helicopters Tuesday to evaluate the security arrangements. Around 4,000 policemen have been deployed both inside and outside the stadium.

“Everything is in place. We have given final directions to our officials and senior police officers will remain there all through the match,” Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, Mohali district police chief, told IANS.

In the neighbouring city of Chandigarh, some 10 km from Mohali, traffic police would close various roads Wednesday to make way for the cavalcades of VIPs. A high alert has been announced in the city.

India and Pakistan team players are staying at Hotel Taj in Chandigarh which has been give additional security with nearly 1,000 troopers on guard. Personnel of paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are also guarding the hotel.

Armed security personnel, wearing bullet-proof jackets, are manning all floors of the hotel.

Gilani, who is expected to reach Chandigarh airport at 1 p.m., will also stay in the presidential suite of the same hotel.

There would be armed security personnel on both sides of the 15-km stretch, between hotel Taj and the stadium, from where teams’ buses will pass. The teams’ buses will take a five-km longer route in a bid to avoid the busy roads in Chandigarh.

According to officials of Chandigarh administration, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur will reach Chandigarh airport at 1.35 p.m. and they leave for Delhi at 11.10 p.m.

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