Punjab cricket board owes police Rs.11 crore!

April 15th, 2011 - 2:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Mohali (Punjab), April 15 (IANS) The stadium here saw the high-voltage India-Pakistan World Cup semifinal, it is now hosting the Indian Premier League and it has been home to many thrilling Tests. But the cricket board has run up over Rs.11 crore in unpaid bills to Punjab Police for providing security for cricket matches.

Though the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) has made huge profits by hosting international matches at its stadium here, around 10 km from the state capital Chandigarh, it is yet to pay for the massive security arrangements, say police.

“We have sent so many letters and reminders to the PCA authorities about pending security bills, but to no avail. I think that now the issue has gone beyond the hands of police and it would be settled at the government’s level,” Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, senior superintendent of police (Mohali), told IANS.

According to police officials, 30 bills totalling over Rs.11 crore have been sent to the PCA for matches held in the past five years. But the PCA is yet to cough up a penny.

“We had sent a bill of over Rs.1 crore to PCA for providing security cover during the three World Cup matches last month,” said Bhullar.

According to officials, the cost of security for three World Cup matches was Rs.10,857,347, including Rs.4,488,247 for the semifinal match between India and Pakistan.

“Cricket is a profit-making commercial event and as per Punjab Police rules, if a private organization holds an event and seeks security then it is mandatory for the organiser to pay for the security,” said a senior police official.

However, PCA officials said the bills will be cleared soon.

“There has been no delay and all security bills will be cleared soon. We also have to scrutinise them,” G.S. Walia, joint secretary of PCA, told IANS.

The Mohali stadium is considered one of the most ultra-modern in India. It has a pitch with a reputation for being lively and supporting both batsmen and pace bowlers. It was built in 1992, and can easily accommodate 28,000 spectators.

A senior official at PCA, requesting not to be named, told IANS, “Last year a meeting was held among the officials of Punjab police, PCA and the state government. They also decided to make a committee to look into the pending bills but nothing concrete came of it as there were many differences over the bill amounts.”

PCA enjoys much clout, with Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal being its patron and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal being the chairman of the organising committee.

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at alkesh.s@ians.in)

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