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Bengal gives conditional nod to IPL
KOLKATA: The uncertainty over IPL matches scheduled for Kolkata continues after the state government on Thursday decided to place two crucial conditions before the Union home ministry on security arrangements.

The state government told the home ministry that the match scheduled for May 4 can only be held provided 30 companies of Central paramilitary forces are sent to Kolkata on that day to provide security for the match.

Also, the other matches on April 11, 14, 16, 21, 26 and May 2 can be held provided Kolkata Police personnel are not sent for poll duty outside the city. During the elections, the Centre forms a pool and police personnel can be sent anywhere outside the city limits to elsewhere in the state and even to other states on election duty.

Since the IPL matches are being held concurrently with the elections, the state government is working out the availability of forces so that the security of the players, viewers and the poll process is not compromised.

Chief secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti will write to the home ministry on this after the decisions were taken at a high-level meeting at Writers' Buildings. Besides the chief secretary, home secretary Ardhendu Sen, director-general of state police A B Vohra, director-general (coordination) Bhupinder Singh, city police commissioner Gautam Mohan Chakrabarty and IG (law and order) Raj Kanojia were present.

According to the CP, if 30 companies of Central forces are not sent for the May 4 match, it cannot be held. Or, it can either to be brought forward or postponed beyond May 16, the day election results would be announced. In both cases, Kolkata Police personnel cannot be sent outside Kolkata for poll duty.

Elections in Bengal are scheduled on three days April 30, May 7 and May 13. Kolkata goes to the polls on May 13.

"A 4,000-strong force is usually required for a cricket match with 3,000 needed at the match venue itself," the chief secretary said.

The CP also added that IPL organisers would be asked to foot the bill for police deployment. He said the organisers had paid only a part of last year's bill.

Except for Delhi, all the states want central forces even if they get adequate gaps between poll and match dates.

Referring to the states' demand, home ministry officials wondered how they could spare additional paramilitary forces to that extent when collective requirement would not be less than 6,000 to 7,000 personnel for the IPL.

It is learnt that home minister P Chidambaram, who couldn't go through the states' response as he was not in the capital, is likely to take the final call after reviewing the matter with officials on Friday.

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