Shimla, Jan 18 (IANS) Ahead of the first international match at the picturesque cricket stadium in Himachal Pradesh's Dharamsala town, a controversy has erupted over providing security during the fifth and final ODI between India and England Jan 27.
Officials told IANS Friday that the state police has asked match host Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association to footthe Rs.70 lakh bill for providing security during the match.
An official of the HPCA, headed by Anurag Thakur, a BJP member of the Lok Sabha, condemned the demand.
"It's a proud moment for the state to host such a big event. We request the government to provide security and other logistics support to the HPCA for the success of the match, which will bring this hill state on the world map and boost its economy," HPCA press secretary Mohit Sood said.
He said a letter from the state government asking for Rs.70 lakh was received a few days ago and the HPCA has been taking up the issue with the authorities concerned.
"I don't know but there might be some political pressure," he added.
But local legislator and Town and Country Planning Minister Sudhir Sharma said: "The HPCA is a private body, it has a budget. So it should pay the charges for security which will be used for the development purposes only."
He said during the previous IPL seasons, the state government had assisted the HPCA.
According to information accessed by RTI activist Dev Ashish Bhattacharya, Rs.2.36 crore was incurred by the state police on providing security for the five IPL matches held in Dharamsala during the first two IPL seasons in 2010 and 2011.
The HPCA venue, located at an altitude of 4,000 feet above sea level and some 250 km from state capital Shimla, has a 21,600-seating capacity.