Kolkata: With just a few days to go for the 2017 FIFA Under-17 Football World Cup final on October 28, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is doing all in her power to make it one of the most memorable events in the world.
In the build up to the big day, special arrangements have been made for FIFA President Gianni Infantino to get a taste of local flavour - variety of delectable Bengali cuisines will greet him along with other FIFA guests and foreign delegates on October 27 at New Town’s Eco Island.
A cultural programme has also been arranged for the visiting FIFA officials beginning 7 pm. Some of the well-known artists from the city like vocalist Rashid Khan, Percussionist Bikram Ghosh, Odissi dancer Dona Ganguly (Saurav Ganguly’s wife) will perform at the event and Chief Minister Mamata will personally be there to welcome the foreign guests.
Areas adjoining to the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan, also known as the Salt Lake Stadium have been given another face-lift. All government establishments, buildings, road dividers, traffic junctions and fly-overs from Airport to JW Marriot Hotel have been illuminated with blue and white light (favorite colour of Mamata). The refurbished stadium itself is also as beautiful as any other world class facility.
On October 26, the FIFA Officials along with the state government will put their heads together in a high-level meeting to ensure all systems work flawlessly on the day of the final.
The state Public Works Department (PWD) is also working round the clock to keep the stadium in the best possible condition.
Nearly, 50 senior engineers were deployed at the stadium since the tournament began to oversee the maintenance work that need to be carried out on regular basis after every match.
Between October 26-28, FIFA's top bosses will also come together in an important Council meeting before they make their way to the Salt Lake Stadium to watch the big final on Saturday.
A senior LOC members said, “The attendance for matches of the FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 breached the million mark in the final match of the round 16. The cumulative total as of now stands at 10,07,396. We are overwhelmed with the response from football lovers in Kolkata.”
For Wednesday’s match between Brazil and England, Kolkata has already switched into Brazil mode. The streets in Kolkata are filled with Brazilian flags, jerseys and banners. For the Brazilian team, like their coach pointed out recently, it will be similar to playing at their home ground.
Gyanwant Singh, Commissioner of Police, Bidhannagar Commissionerate, said, “Massive security arrangements have been put in place in and around the stadium. Special measures are being taken for the FIFA officials as well. We are fully prepared to provide our best service to the spectators and guests.”
Meanwhile, National Security Guard (NSG) sent a proposal for security drill inside and outside the stadium but it was rejected by the state government citing reason that the state police is capable of handling the situation.