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Bengal rejects May 4 IPL match - Sathish - 03-17-2009

The state government cannot make security arrangements for the May 4 match in the revised schedule of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Kolkata, and wants either a change of date or additional Central forces.

"We want a gap of three days between the IPL matches to enable us to deploy enough security at Eden Gardens", state home secretary Ardhendu Sen said here.

According to the revised IPL schedule, the matches here will be held on April 11, April 14, April 18, April 21, April 26, and May 2 and May 4. Polls in West Bengal will be held on April 30, May 7 and May 13. After the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked in Lahore earlier this month, ensuring cricketers' security was a prime concern for the home department.

"Generally, 4000 to 5000 policemen are deployed during a match at Edens, but this time we are plannning to engage at least 6000 to 7000 personnel", Sen told reporters here. As for the Lok Sabha polls, the Centre has assured the state government that availability of Central forces will be in line with last elections.

"In the last Parliamentary elections, the Centre had provided around 180 companies of policemen and paramilitary forces. If the same number is provided, it should be sufficient as the elections are phased out this time as against on only one day during 2004 general elections", Sen said. He added that for organising IPL matches at the same time, either the dates need to be reworked or the Centre needs to allocate more forces. In a parallel development, the state government is also working on the Centre's proposal to set up a State Industrial Security Force in West Bengal. "This will be supplementary to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) that will be available for industry and important installations", Sen explained adding that the state government was yet to take a decision on the matter as the funding pattern was not clear.

Bengal would ask the Centre to bear a part of the cost of creating the force. "The minimum cost for setting up at least one battalion is around Rs 10 crore", Sen informed.