Cuttack/Bhubaneswar, Jan. 23: The second India-West Indies ODI will be played tomorrow under the heaviest security bandobast Cuttack’s Barabati Stadium has ever witnessed.
The lucky few who have got tickets to see the mouth-watering clash will also see a stadium resembling a fortress in view of the terror threat to the match. Preventing a repeat of Monday’s drama involving a Kalinga Sena activist is also high on the agenda of the security personnel.
“It’s going to be very different from the past ODIs,” said Cuttack superintendent of police Saumendra Priyadarshi, who is responsible for security arrangements at the stadium.
“But several of the security differences will not be detected by the public as there will be a lot of work behind the scenes. But the public will definitely see a bigger police presence,” he said.
A 4,000-strong force, including 40 platoons of the armed police, were pressed into service today while four “quick reaction” teams would provide security to the players.
Public enthusiasm is at its peak as an ODI is being held in Cuttack after more than three years. The last match was between India and New Zealand on November 6, 2003.
“Barabati Stadium has a capacity of around 35,000. But keeping the security requirements in mind, we have decided to keep the maximum footfall to 31,000,” said Orissa Cricket Association secretary Asirbad Behera.
In Bhubaneswar, meanwhile, senior police officers were busy supervising the security arrangements.
Following on order from chief minister Naveen Patnaik, director-general of police Amarananda Pattanayak visited the airport last night and inquired into the circumstances leading to the manhandling of Team India coach Greg Chappell.
The DGP, said an official, probed as to how Biranchi Moharana could break through the police cordon and come close to Chappell. Some police officials have blamed the cameramen and TV crew for “deliberately allowing Moharana to enter the media cordon”, a reliable source said.
Speaking to The Telegraph over phone, Pattanayak said the inquiry report was under preparation.
Khurda superintendent of police Amitabh Thakur said the police recorded Chappell’s statement today. “He said he had no allegations against anybody,” said Thakur. “The accused will, however, be charged for breaching the security cordon.” Moharana, meanwhile, was remanded to judicial custody for 15 days.
Two platoons of the armed police have been deployed around the hotel where the players have put up, said Thakur.
Team India members R.P. Singh and Ramesh Powar visited a footwear showroom in Bapuji Nagar amid heavy security today. The duo stayed there for around 15 minutes.