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World Cup shock: Wankhede Stadium fails fire inspection

cricket Updated: Feb 18, 2011 22:55 IST

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Wankhede Stadium, venue for the Cricket World Cup final on April 2, has not met fire safety standards, the chief fire officer for Mumbai said on Friday.

"We will soon write a letter to the MCA (Mumbai Cricket Association) stating there is a need to comply with fire safety norms at the stadium. Once they abide by the terms we would again conduct an inspection," chief fire officer Uday Tatkare was quoted as saying.

"The team has found that the newly renovated stadium has many loopholes in its fire safety mechanism. The stadium must be in compliance with the fire safety conditions," Tatkare said.

Tatkare was on leave for the weekend and did not receive calls when Reuters tried to contact him on the phone. No other Mumbai fire brigade officials were ready to elaborate.

The stadium also failed an inspection by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in December but earlier this week was given the go-ahead for its three World Cup matches starting on March 13.

"Among the mandatory fire apparatus are ... water hydrants, internal riser system for the stands, no-smoking indicators, fire alarms and extinguishers have to be installed," a Mumbai fire officer said on condition of anonymity.

"There are some lapses which they need to look into."

Comfortably meet
The MCA, responsible for the stadium, was confident it could comfortably meet the fire brigade's demands.

"The fire brigade officials had come for a visit few days back and they had suggested a few safety norms after their visit," association secretary Lalchand Rajput said on Friday.

"We are working on those and we will be ready. There is absolutely no worry. There has been no formal letter from the fire department yet."

The ICC's tournament director Ratnakar Shetty, the chief administrative officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), said, "I am not aware of this. I am not in Mumbai."

The World Cup starts in Dhaka on Saturday with a match between co-hosts Bangladesh and India.

An ICC spokesman declined to comment.

Friday's warning will again cast doubts on India's capability as host of major events after 2010's Commonwealth Games in Delhi ended up being a public relations shambles despite a late scramble by the government.

India had intended to showcase its growing financial might through the $6 billion Games in October but organisational blunders in the lead-up to the event turned it into an embarrassment.

There were more red faces in India in January when the ICC shifted the high profile India v England World Cup match out of Kolkata's Eden Gardens due to a delay in construction work.