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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Ahead of the India-South Africa T20I match at Barabati Stadium on June 12, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Tuesday issued notice to Cuttack DCP and Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) secretary over alleged lack of fire safety measures at the stadium.

Since the match is scheduled to be held next month, the Commission has sought reply by May 26.

The order was passed following a complaint by Congress leader Nishikant Mishra who drew the attention of the Commission over lack of fire safety measures in the historic stadium under the Odisha Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Rules-2017.

According to Mishra, the Barabati Stadium which has a capacity of 44,000 spectators has no fire safety system. He also drew the Commission’s attention to the letter of Fire Officer, Central Range, Cuttack where Odisha Cricket Assocsation (OCA) was requested to apply for fire safety certificate under the Odisha Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Rules-2017.

After considering the submissions of Mishra, the Commission maintained that the fire safety system is of paramount importance during the cricket match.

The Commission directed to issue notices to the DCP, Cuttack UPD as well as OCA secretary requiring them to submit their respective reports about the fire safety arrangement in the Barabati Stadium for the ensuing cricket match.

Speaking on the matter, OCA secretary Sanjay Behera said, "I have not received any notice so far. This will not be an issue because we will request them. We have hosted around 26 international matches here. The basis on which these matches are played and the support and cooperation that we receive from the State government and the Fire department, we will continue to receive them. Whatever precautions required to be taken privately and from the government side, will be taken for organising the match."

The visitors South Africa is scheduled to play a 5-match T20 series in India from June 9 to 19.

Barabati had earlier failed to host India-West Indies first T20I tie of the three-match series scheduled to be played on February 15 in view of the surge in Covid-19 cases in India.

The BCCI was later forced to host the ODIs and T20Is in just two cities – Ahmedabad and Kolkata – in order to maintain a stable bio bubble for players and coaching staff.

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