New Delhi:Bulletproof buses, armoured SUVs and an international security firm to manage it all, the Indian Premier League will be spending big on protecting its players if it gets the Home Ministry's nod to conduct the Twenty20 event next month.
A 10-fold hike in its security budget has already been announced by the League's Commissioner Lalit Modi and a major chunk of this money is expected to be spent on buying 16 bullet-proof buses and 64 armoured SUV's.
A South Africa-based security firm Nicholls Steyn will manage the entire set-up.
Add to it, the money to be spent on hiring private security to make up for the lack of support from the Central Government, which has refused para-military forces for the event as Lok Sabha elections remain the first priority for it.
Although the organisers refuse to divulge the numbers, getting the special buses and SUV's alone is expected to cost the IPL USD 3.1 million.
During its inaugural edition, the league left the security of players, officials and fans to individual eight franchises, who coordinated with respective state governments. But the Lahore terror attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers has prompted the organisers to put in place a centrally-managed system wherein the IPL has taken central control of the whole set-up.
"Security is paramount for us. Players, officials and fans are all very important. Players' security was the responsibility of the teams last year but this time we have gone venue by venue managing the security centrally. Of course we will coordinate with the teams," Modi had said.
The IPL security plan this year, would be similar to the one put in place during England's Test series against India, which was held just a few weeks after the Mumbai terror strikes.
"From the minute a (foreign) player lands here to the minute he leaves India. From the minute an Indian players enters the hotel to the minute he leaves, we (the IPL) will be managing the security. It's a cumbersome template that was used during the India-England Test series last year.
"That was a rigorous plan put in place, shared with the government and the international board, in that case the England and Wales Cricket Board," an official said.