Mumbai cricket stadium yet to meet safety standards, say fire officials

But while the Mumbai cricket association insists that Wankhede Stadium is well-equipped, international cricket officials are set for an inspection next week.

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MUMBAI // 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.

"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," Uday Tatkare, the chief fire officer, was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India.

"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.

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 told PTI on condition of anonymity.

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

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," Lalchand Rajput, the MCA secretary, told Reuters.

"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."

But Ratnakar Shetty, the MCA treasurer, told The Associated Press that "we have taken every aspect into account and all norms have been met with". He said the fire inspection was not scheduled until Monday.

An ICC spokesman, meanwhile, confirmed that the inspection was set for next week and that the stadium had not failed a fire safety test.

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