2200 cops deployed for semis as Mohali turns into fortress

Last Updated: Mar 27, 2011, 21:24 PM IST

Mohali: The Punjab Cricket Association stadium here has turned into fortress with nearly 2200 cops being put on duty for the high-profile World Cup semi-final clash between India and Pakistan which will be attended by Prime Ministers from both nations.

Anti-aircraft guns will be deployed and NSG commandos will join a large number of security personnel to provide security at the stadium, which will be primarily taken over by the elite Special Protection Group.

Police and paramilitary forces were today deployed along the routes leading to the stadium, which is about 12 km from Chandigarh`s Hotel Taj, where the two teams are staying.

Security personnel also positioned themselves on the rooftops in the adjoining buildings of the stadium to maintain strict vigil.

Cricketing ties between the two countries were suspended in the wake of Mumbai terror attacks in 2008. Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has accepted his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh`s invitation to watch the high-voltage match.

"Five SSPs will be posted to look into overall security. We are leaving nothing to chance. The security will be multi-layered and inner ring will be taken care of by the SPG, NSG while the outer ring will be manned by the paramilitary forces and outermost cordon by the police," Mohali`s SSP, GPS Bhullar told PTI here.

He said that anti-sabotage teams, teams of mounted police, 150 CCTV cameras, Quick Reaction Teams, bomb disposal and sniffer dog squads would be in place as part of foolproof security, which also included drawing up of contingency plans to meet any untoward situation.

In addition to the two premiers, a large number of top politicians from India and business tycoons including Mukesh Ambani and Vijay Mallya and other top dignitories including those from the ICC, BCCI and the Pakistan Cricket Board and other member countries are expected to be present here on March 30.

India and Pakistan will play the semi-finals under floodlights here. A heavy posse of undercover securitymen have also fanned out and will remain on high alert during the match.

The City is also witnessing a surge of fans who have booked most of the hotel rooms, with virtually all star and budget accommodations being lapped up within a radius of 50 km from Mohali and Chandigarh.

A large number of fans today descended at the PCA stadium here, hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars and hoping against hope to get a ticket to watch. The security has also been beefed up in neighbouring Chandigarh.

"We have made foolproof security arrangements. We have also requested members of the cricket teams and other VIP guests to inform us four hours in advance if they wish to go outside their hotel rooms so that adequate measures are made well in advance," Chandigarh`s Senior Superintendent of Police (Traffic and Security) H S Doon informed.

"We have deployed nearly 1200 cops around Hotel Taj and put more than double the figure on patrol duty."

According to travel agents, hotels for all budgets have been fully booked for March 29 and 30.

The stadium is expected jam-packed stands, including many Pakistani fans. Over 16,000 match tickets were sold in less than two days in the 28,000-capacity stadium while the rest were bought by the ICC to be distributed to its officials and guests.

For the first time, Chandigarh police is using jammer-installed vehicles to escort the team buses, Doon said and guests going inside the hotel are being subjected to
intense frisking while mediapersons are not being allowed inside ever since the Indian team arrived yesterday.

PTI