Security spanner around Nehru Stadium at Guwahati

Published: Saturday, April 8, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Guwahati:Nehru Stadium, venue for the fifth India-England ODI on April 9, has been converted into a virtual fortress, even as the teams chose to arrive here a day later.

England Teams Media manager James Avery, talking to UNI over phone from Kochi, said, '' We have deferred our tour by a day as we have decided to do some sight seeing and rest our heels. '' ''We expect to be in Guwahati by 1230 hours IST tomorrow (today),'' he said.

Incidentally, the England and Wales Cricket Board had initially shown their reluctance to come and play in Guwahati. But a recce team that visited the stadium here last afternoon expressed their satisfaction at the arrangements provided. Bikash Barua, Secretary Assam Cricket Association, told UNI, '' They are satisfied.

They have no complaints. '' The Indian team had also decided to come here Saturday afternoon.

However, the deferring has nothing to do with ULFA Raising Day today. The entire town had been covered in a security net and measures had been taken to see the match and the polls scheduled for the next day in Lower Assam peacefully.

According to Deputy Commissioner (Metro) Avinash Joshi, a number of steps had been taken to avert any untoward incident before or on the day of the match.

Altogether 2000 security personnel would be deployed in and around the ground. This would include para-military forces.

Official sources said every possible step has been take to assure that the game goes on smoothly. No vehicles would be allowed to enter the R G Baruah Sports Complex, that houses the Nehru Stadium, without special car passes.

He also said during the match spectators would not be allowed to carry water bottles or inflammable articles.

While the Indian team would be staying at Hotel Landmark, adjacent to the R G Baruah Sports Complex, the English team would be putting up in Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok.

Security had also been tightened along the stadium road too as the police were not taking any chances.

Meanwhile, security had been beefed up in the entire capital city in view of the elections. The city was to hold elections on April 10, but was advanced to April 3 to accommodate the match.

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