Ahead of first ODI, hiccups over police deployment bill

In the run-up to the first One-day International (ODI) cricket match to behosted at Dharamshala stadium, Himachal Pradesh government's move to recover expenses to the the tune of Rs 70 lakh for police deployments have sparked a new controversy with Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) strongly resisting the `unprecedented' step.

The match between England and India is slated for January 27 and is expected to put Himachal Pradesh on the international map after successfully hosting IPL matches the past two years.

However, the new Congress regime is in no mood to roll out the red carpet for Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) led by Anurag Thakur, MP son of former chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal. Thakur is also Joint secretary to Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and also the brains behind getting the ODI allotted to HPCA for Dharamshala Stadium.

"It is a completely illegal move. I am really surprised as how the police have estimated Rs 70 lakh as cost of security simply for deployments. Why is the government not seeing how much publicity state will get when the match is telecast in 145 countries and how much business and tourism promotion will take place." he said.

Thakur has also written a letter to the state's chief secretary Sudripta Roy seeking intervention in the matter.

The HPCA president said: "We will be contributing to the state's drive for putting it on the international map without putting any burden on the state.Thousands of people will visit Dharamshala during the match and have already booked hotels. It is going to add to the state's tax and non-tax revenue to the tune of crores of rupee."

Meanwhile, Kangra SP Daljit Thakur was tightlipped on the issue but admitted that it is the duty of the police to maintain law and order during the match. "We have informed HPCA about our readiness to provide security and make necessary deployments," he added.

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