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New Delhi, Jaipur dropped as IPL venues
NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH: Even as prospects for the Indian Premier League's beleaguered second edition brightened on Tuesday after at least three host states said they were okay with BCCI's latest schedule, Delhi and Jaipur fans are in for a shock as the two venues have not been assigned any matches.

The two cities, along with new venue Visakhapatnam, could not be accommodated in the match schedule sent by BCCI to the Union home ministry on Tuesday, as their respective governments have outrightly rejected the idea of hosting IPL matches during the general elections.

This effectively means that if the latest schedule is accepted by all eight host states, Teams Delhi and Jaipur will have no home matches.

Reacting to the development, an understandably worried Delhi Daredevils spokesperson said, ``This is not the final schedule. We'll wait and see what finally emerges. If there are no matches in Delhi, we would need to sort out the issue with the IPL organizers as we would be losing a lot of money on gate receipts and sponsorships.''

The new schedule, however, found favour with at least three states scheduled to host matches. Punjab and Himachal Pradesh (match venues Mohali and Dharamsala) have consented to provide security for the event, while West Bengal too is learned to have no problems with the schedule.

To make up for the loss of Delhi and Jaipur, IPL organizers added two new cities, Ahmedabad and Dharamsala, to the list. The Union home ministry, accordingly, forwarded the schedule to Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, asking the state government whether they would be able to provide security on these two venues for the specified dates.

The latest schedule doesn't interfere with the inaugural (April 10) and closing (May 24) dates, making sure that the league takes off as per the earlier plan.

The ministry will take its final call in a day or two after getting responses from all states concerned. "States have been asked to give their response in writing so that they cannot deviate from what they have been stating to the Centre during consultations at different levels,'' said a senior home ministry official.

"If these states agree, the Centre will not have any problem with giving its nod to the tournament. States are expected to respond by Wednesday. If they don't, we send them a reminder,'' he added.

Meanwhile, confirming that the state had agreed to host IPL matches as per the new schedule, Punjab director general of police K K Attari denied there were any riders attached to the consent. There were reports that Punjab had agreed to the schedule on condition that its state police is not deployed on poll duty.

Attari told TOI: "These are matters of discussion but the fact is we have agreed to providing security at IPL matches.'' Punjab had earlier asked for 10 more companies of paramilitary forces for security in the matches.

In Himachal Pradesh, IG, security, S R Mardi said, ``We will provide adequate security during IPL matches at Dharamsala). The Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association had contacted us on the issue and we have given our consent.''

There were conjectures that deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal, who holds the home portfolio and is one of the stakeholders in IPL teams, could be a reason for Punjab agreeing to provide security.

In Kolkata, West Bengal home secretary Ardhendu Sen said, ``We have just received the new dates wherein the matches here will finish by April 26. We shouldn't have any problems with that but the final decision will be taken by the chief secretary.

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