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Home Ministry asks IPL organisers for new schedule

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The Home Ministry today advised the Indian Premier League (IPL) organisers that it may not be feasible to hold the T-20 cricket tournament as per the revised schedule submitted by them for security reasons and asked them to submit a new programme that will take into account the concerns expressed by the governments of some of the states where the matches are due to be held.

The organisers had, on February 24 announced that the second season of the popular league, featuring eight teams with top players from around the world, would begin on April 10 and go on till May 24 when the final was scheduled.

Some days later, the Election Commission announced that elections to the Lok Sabha would be held in five phases from April 16, which meant that the two major events were virtually overlapping and raised concerns about security. The Centre said it would be difficult to spare central para-military forces during the elections for the security of the players and match venues in the background of the terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers in Lahore.

Accordingly, the IPL organisers had submitted a revised schedule to the Home Ministry on March 7.State governments have also sent in their responses on the new schedule, an official statement said today.

The governments of Andhra Pradesh and Delhi expressed their inability to provide security for the players and the matches during the elections. The Karnataka government said it would be able to provide security for four matches at Bangalore but not for the two other matches.

Tamil Nadu said it would be able to provide security for the matches at Chennai because they were scheduled after the date of polling.

The West Bengal and Punjab governments said they would be able to provide security at Kolkata and Mohali provided they were not asked to release state police forces for the elections, which they had promised to the Election Commission earlier. The West Bengal government also asked for 30 additional companies of Central Paramilitary Forces for the match on May 4. Punjab said it could not provide security for the match on May 1 and suggested it be rescheduled. Punjab also asked for five additional companies of central forces for the other matches at Mohali.

The Home Ministry said it could not agree to exempt any state government from the release of state police personnel for election duties because they had already been taken into account when deciding on the security requirements for the elections.

The Maharashtra and Rajasthan governments said they would be able to arrange security for the matches only if they got additional companies of central forces for the mach days.

Taking into account all these factors, the government had decided to ask the IPL organisers to work out a fresh schedule, the statement added.

NNN

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