Eden Gardens to turn into fortress for India-Pakistan match

Kolkata: With sand bunkers and watch towers at strategic locations, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) keeping a tab and deployment of over 3000 security personnel, Eden Gardens will turn into a fortress with multiple security rings for the high-octane India-Pakistan World Twenty20 clash on Saturday. With West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee herself writing to the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) assuring foolproof security, the city police have walked the extra mile to ensure smooth conduct of the match where a host of high profile guests including diplomats and cricketing greats will be present to witness the arch-rivals clashing at the hallowed stadium. A strong army of 2,200 constables and nearly 1000 inspectors and sub-inspectors would be deployed to form security layers in and around the stadium with as many as 21 deputy commissioners and 44 assistant commissioners supervising the various layers. The city police's joint commissioners, additional commissioners and the special commissioner will supervise the entire security arrangement. In the wake of threats to disrupt the match and dig up the Eden pitch from certain quarters, the city police will be deploying a special anti-sabotage squad. "The anti-sabotage squad will be constantly monitoring the stadium to prevent any kind of sabotage. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be employed for surveillance," said a city police officer. Nine watch towers, 11 sand bunkers and five police assistance booths have been put up at strategic locations and three Quick Response Teams (QRTs) will be on standby to tackle any kind of exigency. "There will be at least three levels of frisking and checking of the spectators so the stadium gates will be opened three hours prior to the match," said the officer. The officer also said special police teams have been working round the clock for the past days to prevent illegal betting and black marketing of tickets. "In coordination with cricket officials, our special teams have been on the job since Tuesday conducting searches and special checks across the city to prevent betting and black marketing of tickets," added the officer. While cricket legends Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar, Imran Khan, Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Intikhab Alam and Virender Sehwag will be present for the match, Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan and Pakistan's classical singer Shafaqat Amanat Ali will render the national anthems of the two countries before the start of the game.