CUTTACK: Rattled by vehement protests against the state hosting the Pakistani team for the Women’s Cricket World Cup to be played out here from February 1, the government has arranged accommodation for the players right inside the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack.
“The Pakistani players would have faced trouble while travelling from Bhubaneswar to Cuttack for the matches. So we have arranged for their accommodation on the Barabati Stadium premises,” said Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) secretary Asirbad Behera.Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Bajrang Dal had warned hoteliers in Bhubaneswar against offering hospitality to the Pakistani players, following which posh hotels in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack showed reluctance in providing accommodation to the Pak players, forcing the decision to house the players on the stadium premises.
Political parties like Kalinga Sena and Utkal Bharat have also been threatening to disrupt the matches of the Pakistani team. “The accommodation of the Pakistan team had turned out to be a headache for us, but finally we have managed to solve the problem,” said an OCA official.
Five star hotel facilities will be provided to the Pak players at the Club House in the stadium where the players are to stay, said Behera. “The Club House is equipped with a world class gymnasium and swimming pool. Other arrangements have also been made to provide the best facilities to the Pakistani players,” he said. Security in and around Barabati Stadium has been beefed up ahead of the matches. At least 500 security personnel have been deployed and 55 CCTV cameras have been installed at the stadium to ensure security to the players.
Director general of police (DGP) Prakash Mishra visited the stadium on Sunday to review the security set-up and held discussions with OCA officials about the arrangements. “Matches involving the Pakistan team will be played at Barabati and elaborate arrangements have been made to ensure foolproof security to the players,” the DGP said after reviewing the arrangements.
The OCA has also decided to restrict the entry of visitors to the stadium for matches involving Pakistani players. “Only gallery number 1 and 2 will be opened for visitors. Visitors will be allowed to enter the stadium after a thorough scanning by security personnel. We have also appealed to visitors not to bring any water bottles and food packets along,” said Behera.The matches involving Pakistan team will be held exclusively at Barabati Stadium, while matches of other teams will be played at the DRIEMS ground in Tangi. – PT