Police demand 'exorbitant' fees for Eden security

Kolkata, Nov 3 (IANS) The Kolkata Police have demanded a seven-time higher amount than on previous occasions from the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) for providing security during the India-West Indies Test match at the Eden Gardens, beginning Nov 6.

The CAB has termed the demand "too exorbitant".

The CAB, which paid Rs.5 lakh when it organised a Test match here last year, has been asked to shell out Rs.35 lakh by the police, which argued that additional arrangements, including more manpower deployment, have to be made in view of the frenzy around Sachin Tendulkar - playing his 199th and penultimate Test match of his career.

With Eden expected to witness a full house during the game, and a lot of events planned around Tendulkar's swangsong match at the venue and other areas in the city, the police have argued they would have to make maximum use of the resources at their disposal to maintain peace.

"During earlier Test matches, we used to pay Rs.5 lakh to the police. Now, they want Rs.35 lakh, which is too exorbitant," said a CAB official.

He said the CAB was not a profit-making organisation, and devoted solely to the development of the game in West Bengal.

"This is an international match we are hosting. It involves the country's prestige. So, the police needs to take all these into account before making such demands," he said.

Asked whether they have held talks with the police top brass, he said: "Actually, we are so busy in organising the match and finalising the plethora of felicitation programmes for Tendulkar, we did not find time for that."

"We will discuss the issue once the match is over. We believe we can arrive at a just amount through dialogue. We also understand we cannot stick to the figure of Rs.5 lakh. There is high inflation, and the security arrangements also have to be more elaborate this time," he added.

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