Security forces take charge of the international stadium in Dhurwa, Ranchi, on Wednesday. (Prashant Mitra)
Khaki became the colour of the international cricket stadium in Dhurwa on Wednesday, as an army of jawans took charge of the multi-crore venue, which will host the much-awaited India-England ODI this weekend.
Though there were no security drills and the police brass restricted themselves to marathon meetings for theoretical categorisation of roles and responsibilities of each sentinel, the stadium felt like a fortress by the sheer presence of 1,000-odd men in uniform and 24 strategically installed cameras.
Around 11am, two DSP-rank canines sniffed and identified the entire complex — right from lavatories to lounges, parking area, galleries, boxes, hills and, of course, the ground. An official said the exercise was to acclimatise the dogs. “After today, if anything suspicious happens, they will be in a position to raise the first alarm,” he added.
Men who matter
Besides the dog squad, a diligent group of senior police officers like IG (Special Branch) S.N. Pradhan, IG (provisions) R.K. Mallick, IG (Ranchi range) M.S. Bhatia and SSP Saket Kumar Singh was seen busily plugging every small gap in security.
The SSP confirmed that primary deployment of forces had taken place for the January 19 ODI. Though he didn’t reveal the exact number of personnel who would be on duty from the ODI-eve, more than 1,000 were already in position from Wednesday morning.
IG Bhatia had earlier mentioned that close to 3,000 men in khaki would guard the stadium on the inauguration and match days. The force will include 33 DSPs, 88 inspectors, 334 ASIs and the rest jawans.
Police are sparing no effort to ensure foolproof security.
“The main security drill will happen tomorrow (Thursday). It will be like an exhaustive dress rehearsal. Today, we had briefing sessions with our boys to make them aware of their roles and responsibilities and to tell them how to act and react in times of crisis,” SSP Singh said.
The officer asserted that a big crowd was no deterrent. “I have handled such situations at Keenan Stadium in Jamshedpur. So, all of us know how to go about our work. We are well-equipped on all fronts — be it intelligence, manpower or gadgets — to deal with any kind of crisis,” he added.
BCCI’s chief curator Daljit Singh looked impressed as he inspected the pitch and ground for two hours. “Fantastic is how I would put it,” he said.
How would he rate the JSCA International Stadium Complex vis-à-vis Eden Gardens in Calcutta?
“Let me say that the Ranchi stadium deserves kudos for grand architecture, vast open spaces and a good arena, which is every international player’s first preference. They will love it if they play here once,” the veteran curator said.
How about the pitch… will it favour batsmen or bowlers?
“We will know on January 19,” he reserved a surprise.