‘Suffocated’ Sachin Makes a Hasty Retreat
VIJAYAWADA: While legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s visit to the city will be a moment that his fans will look back at and cherish for a long time, it turned out to be a troublesome experience for others due to traffic curbs on the always busy MG Road.
Traffic on the service roads came to a grinding halt for nearly three hours, while the police failed to control the surging crowds who had gathered at the PVP Square Mall to get a glimpse of the cricketing great, who had arrived here to inaugurate the mall Friday.
The police, who allowed people with entry passes or invitations into the mall and its surrounding areas before Sachin’s arrival, gave up following his entry into the mall. Sachin Tendulkar, who entered the mall around 10.30 am along with Potluri Vara Prasad and his family members, was greeted with whistles, as nearly 3,000 people awaited his arrival with bated breath. The cricket legend also stopped at several outlets in the mall along with the other guests.
Sources however said that Sachin had been irritated by the behaviour of his fans, who tried to have a glimpse of him or take his photographs on their mobile phones, making things difficult for the police personnel and private security. When he failed to have ‘breathing space’, Sachin is learnt to have expressed his discomfort to Potluri Vara Prasad for the ‘shabby’ arrangements. Lack of coordination between the police and private security of the mall led to the near-chaotic conditions at the mall.
Later, Sachin began his brief speech by addressing the gathering as ‘Sodara Sodarimanulara’, to rousing cheers from the crowds, and congratulated the PVP Group. Though he was scheduled to leave at 3 pm, Sachin left for the Gannavaram Airport immediately after the programme, without even halting at the hotel he had checked-in earlier in the day.
On being asked about the security arrangements, Vijayawada Central ACP K Lavanya Lakshmi said that around 100 policemen were deployed for bandobast. “We have not faced any inconvenience or trouble” she said.
However, the problems faced by the police in controlling the frenzied people was evident as many complained about the disorganised security arrangements.
“The weak security arrangements were clearly exposed and many people, who were passing by, had to face the brunt because of it,” said a passerby, Y Krishna Mohan, who said that they would be more traffic snarls if once the mall comes into full operation. “If the situation is like this even before the mall has started functioning, it is scary to even imagine the situation when the theatres at the mall start operating,” said a disappointed Y Krishna Mohan.