Box to brave Nor'wester

The venue operating centre at the Eden Gardens during the upcoming IPL will be smaller than last year's structure and better equipped to deal with a Nor'wester.

A venue operating centre houses officials of all agencies associated with a match for better administrative coordination. The Eden one, for instance, will have representatives of police, fire services, public works department, the Cricket Association of Bengal and other agencies. Each cricket ground in the country has had a venue operating centre for every match after the International Cricket Council made it mandatory during the 2011 World Cup.

On April 24 last year, the Eden venue operating centre had collapsed during a Nor'wester that had stopped the Kolkata Knight Riders-Deccan Chargers match. Six spectators who had taken shelter under the makeshift structure were trapped under the debris. Three of them had to be hospitalised.

"This year, the structure would not be made of bamboo. We plan to use tubular GI pipes that would be clamped securely and their base would be welded so that they can withstand strong winds," Subir Ganguly, the joint secretary of the Cricket Association of Bengal, told Metro.

"The venue operating centre will be set up in the same block as last year (Block J) but will be smaller ' 10ft x 15ft. We have sought expressions of interest from competent authorities," he added.

Last year's structure, measuring 25ft x 15ft, was completed hurriedly and got a fitness certificate from the PWD only two days before the first IPL clash on April 5. The facade of the air-conditioned enclosure was made of glass and the floor of plywood. Inside were sofas that could seat about 15 people.

"Ideally, we would have liked this year's structure to be of brick and cement but that would not be possible in such a short time," said a senior officer at Lalbazar.

On March 15, a team of senior Calcutta police officers, led by joint commissioner (headquarters) Jawed Shamim, had surveyed the stadium with CAB representatives to finalise the spot for the venue operating centre.

The CAB representatives wanted the venue operating centre to be set up at the F-block, but cops felt otherwise. "There should be a dedicated staircase at the venue operating centre for officials to use and the J block has one. Besides, the police command post would be set up around this block," said the officer.