India-Pakistan Delhi ODI is on: Delhi CM

Published: Monday, March 28, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:In a major relief to the Delhi and District Cricket Association, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today said she was satisfied with the progress of work at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground, which was racing against time to be ready to host the sixth and final one-dayer of the Indo-Pak cricket series.

"I am satisfied with the fact that things are working according to schedule. Hosting the match is not just a matter of great prestige for Delhi but its an honour," Dikshit told reporters after inspecting the ground for about half-an hour.

The Kotla ground, one of the oldest cricket venues in the country, is undergoing renovation work and with the April 17 tie around the corner, doubts have been raised over completion of the work in time.

MCD had recently said that it would not issue any temporary occupancy certificate without which DDCA will not get police and fire safety clearance, a pre-requisite for hosting the match.

But the Chief Minister made it clear that her government would do everything necessary to help DDCA stage the match.

"What MCD has to do they will do, what Jal Board has to do they will also do them. I can say that what DDCA wants we are ready to help them," she said.

"Whatever demands MCD has made, for parking, traffic and watre facility other issues would be done. "God created the world in six days. Now we have got 15 days in hand and preparations are on. I don't have any doubts regarding staging of the match." she said.

On security for the match, Dikshit said Special Protection Group would take care of the aspect.

"Several VVIPs would be coming to see the match. So security will be under the charge of SPG."

DDCA President and BJP leader Jaitley said the pitch and ground work has been completed and hoped the visit of the chief minister would help the Association in getting required "permissions and sanctions" from MCD and other agencies in holding the match.

"The ground and pitch has been completed. Now we are working on outdoor facilties. The chief minister came and it will help us in co-ordinating with MCD and other departments," Jaitley said.

Though the renovation plans were to turn Kotla into a 50,000-capacity stadium, DDCA had reduced the capacity to 30,000 for the match, saying spectators will be allowed to occupy only the lower half of the two-tiered galleries.

"All our colleagues are working day and night for the last few months. We have made significant progress. However, the second portion of the stadium, the upper part, would be completed after the match," Jaitley said.

BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla said the Board was also confident of staging of the match.

"The wicket is ready, ground is ready. The stadium can accommodate 30,000 people. So the match will take place," Shukla said.

He said the Delhi chief minster would make a final inspection just a couple of days before the match.

"The Chief Minister will again come here on April 13 or 14 to see the final stages of preparation," he said.

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