Tight security for India-Australia Test irks residents

October 19th, 2008 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Mohali (Punjab), Oct 19 (IANS) The tight security for the ongoing second Test between India and Australia at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) ground here has irked the residents and businessmen in the areas near the stadium.The road in front of the stadium and all the roads leading to the PCA, including the direct link with Chandigarh, are closed for vehicles from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Only vehicles with special permits are allowed to ply on these roads.

“All the roads leading to PCA stadium are closed, and people have to follow a longer route to reach the markets in the neighbouring areas of PCA,” Harmanjit Brar, owner of a grocery store here told IANS.

He said the road blockades has resulted in a very low turn out of customers at the shops as compared with normal days. “There is steep decline in our daily business.”

“There are over 20 police checkpoints in three-km radius, surrounding PCA. Most of the people are avoiding these routes and this has affected our daily sales by over 30 percent,” said Abhishek Saini, owner of a juice corner in phase-9 in Mohali.

“Punjab police is claiming that around 800 cops other than private security personnel are on duty at PCA. Despite the heavy deployment of force they have closed various road links citing security reasons. Due to this, I have to drive three km longer to reach my office,” said Sunny Sharma, an employee of Fortis Hospital.

The PCA, one of the best-equipped and ultra modern cricket stadiums of the country, has a seating capacity of 35,000. However, most of the stands here support an empty look with only 8,000 to 9,000 spectators coming to see the match.

Due to the lack of parking space or in some cases to escape the parking fees, the spectators park their vehicles in the residential areas adjoining the PCA stadium.

“Scores of two-wheelers and four-wheelers are parked in our street, right in front of our houses. It’s very chaotic especially in the evenings when the match gets over,” Kamaljit Sandhu, resident of a locality near the stadium.

“It is not a new thing for us. It happens every time there is an international match at PCA. We wonder why the PCA authorities have been unable to formulate a solution for the safe parking of vehicles?” said Sandhu.

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