Police on edge as city gears up for President, PM visit

Ind0-Pak match Pranab to attend

Both the state government and the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) are gearing up for the high-profile one-dayer between India and Pakistan on January 3.

President Pranab Mukherjee, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and a host of officials and players from Pakistan will be present on the occasion.

The state government has made preparations for security and hospitality of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari in case he comes for the match.

Kolkata Police, however, are hassled because both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will inaugurate the Indian Science Congress here on January 3, and the President of India will be in Kolkata at the same time.

While the President will stay at Raj Bhavan, it is not yet known where the PM will stay. Never since Independence have both the Prime Minister and the President stayed at Raj Bhavan together.

The CAB will organise a light and sound show after the ODI and has asked the fire department for permission. "We are going to visit Eden Gardens on December 26 to see the preparations,'' said D P Tarenia, director general, fire services. A team of Kolkata Police and PWD will also visit Eden Gardens that day for a recce, Tarenia added.

The question is: how many fans will be able to attend? Tickets are priced at Rs 500, 1,000 and 1,500 but not more than 3,000 tickets will be available to public.

"The renovated Eden Gardens has a capacity of 66,000. Out of that, around 1,000 tickets are reserved for police and military. We have around 28,000 members who are entitled to their match tickets. Also, every first division club has to be allotted 250 tickets and every second division club 150 tickets. Then there are quotas for district associations and Office Sports Federation. So it's impossible to allot more than 3,000 tickets to the general public. And we might have to arrange a lottery to choose the lucky ones or we could sell them online," CAB joint-secretary Bablu Ganguly said.

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