No freebies for Himachal cricket body this IPL season

The era of freebies is over for the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association at least during the two Indian Premier League 6 matches in the state in May.

At the bottom line, it’s to do with politics.

For chief minister Virbhadra Singh has bowled out the hopes of the match organisers for free police protection during the May 16 and 18 matches at HPCA’s picturesque stadium in Dharamsala, 250 km from Shimla.

“Earlier it might have been so, but that’s not the case now,” the chief minister said.
Not mincing words, he said the match organisers would have to foot the security bill.

“The government would charge for providing security to any event which is commercial,” Virbhadra Singh said in Kangra town on Sunday.

The HPCA, he said, is a commercial organisation; so it would be charged accordingly.
The cricket body is controlled by Anurag Thakur, a BJP MP and son of Virbhadra Singh’s predecessor Prem Kumar Dhumal. Official sources said during the seven IPL matches played in the last three seasons, the state government, then headed by Dhumal, had not charged the HPCA for providing security.

Supporting the state government’s decision, the CPI-M has even demanded that the dues should be recovered from the HPCA before it is allowed to host matches.

“The matches should not be allowed till the dues are recovered,” the CPI-M said, a day after the chief minister spoke on the issue.

The IPL, the CPI-M said, was a money-making machine and was not doing any charity. “An amount of more than Rs 2 crore is due from the HPCA,” CPI-M state secretariat member Tikender Panwar said.

He also demanded that the government re-acquire a chunk of village land allotted to the HPCA by bending the rules during the BJP regime for a luxury players’ resort near the stadium.

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