Mumbai: Against the backdrop of terror threat, a thick security blanket has been thrown around Mumbai, turning it into a fortress, ahead of Saturday’s world cup final between India and Sri Lanka at Wankhede stadium. President Pratibha Patil and her Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa will watch the match at the 32,000-capacity
Wankhede Stadium, making the venue more security-sensitive. Apart from Mumbai police, teams of National Security Guards, Maharashtra’s elite Force One, Rapid Action Force, State Reserve Police Force and Quick Response Team are maintaining strict vigil at the stadium, the venue of the grand finale of cricket’s biggest extravaganza. Other parts of the city are witnessing strict checkings and intensified nakabandis.
Airspace over and around stadium has been declared `No Flying Zone’. Deputy Police Commissioner (Operations) Rajkumar Vhatkar said, over 180 CCTVs have been installed by the stadium authorities inside and outside the stadium, and a special police control room has been set up to keep a watch on the spectators.
CISF will frisk spectators entering stadium and SRPF will guard the periphery. Neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai police personnel will back up city Police.
Helicopters for surveillance, Marine Commandos and Indian Naval Base in South Mumbai will be on standby. All entry points from the sea will be sealed on the day. A multi-layer security will be in place around two-km radius area of the stadium during the match. Outside food items will not be allowed in the stadium.
Police are also worried that a “chemical bomb” could be used by the terrorists, so the water bottles from outsidewould not be allowed at the match, a police official said on the condition of anonymity. Also, with inputs that terror outfits may strike during World Cup matches using explosive-laden vehicles, the city police have decided not to allow parking within a radius of one kilometre of the Wankhede Stadium.
Spectators will have to park their vehicles either near Inox mall in Nariman Point area or near Azad Maidan. The police have appealed to spectators to opt for public transport instead of private vehicles. Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), the civic transport body, is likely to run special buses to ferry spectators from parking areas to the ground.
Ahead of the cricket world cup final to be played between India and Sri Lanka in Mumbai on Saturday, security has been heightened across the city. Maharashtraâ€™s Home Minister, Mr. R R Patil today visited Wankhede Stadium to review all the security measures. Speaking to reporters outside the stadium, Mr. Patil said that more than 3,000 policemen have been deployed to ensure the smooth conduct of play.