GUWAHATI, Oct 12 - With so much being talked about as to where the government machinery had missed the bus to ensure foolproof security to Australian cricket players, it could in fact be the choice of bus, which had eventually left the State as a whole on a sticky wicket.
With Guwahati Police already on the job to ascertain the security lapses that led to the stone-throwing incident on the bus carrying Australian players, there emerges a crucial security lapse that a section of transport operators have pointed out.
Transport operators are now raising questions on the choice of bus used for ferrying the Australian players, which is certainly not considered the safest for players’ transport. “Nowhere in India such a poor choice is made as far as players’ transport is concerned,” an official requesting anonymity told this reporter.
Although two persons have been arrested by the police in this connection, there are lapses which the Assam Cricket Association (ACA) cannot afford to wash their hands off, believe some former cricketers as well.
Commissioner of Police (Guwahati) Hiren Nath said the arrested persons – Pabitra Khatriari and Rakesh Hijwani – have been sent to judicial custody. “As far as the condition of the bus is concerned, it is the prerogative of the local board,” Nath told this correspondent.
Unlike the usual practice, the Australian team was allotted a bus which usually, according to insiders, is not often used for international cricket players’ transport anywhere in India purely because of its security specifications.
“Had it been a Volvo bus, which usually is the most preferred choice, the stone hurled at the bus would never have broken through the glass. At the most, it would have left signs of cracks. At least the incident would have been less embarrassing for us,” said a bus operator without wishing to be named.
“If buses can be brought from North India to transport football players taking part in the ongoing FIFA Under-17 World Cup, why can’t the richest cricketing body afford the same,” questioned an ardent cricket fan.
“One wonders, when so much of money is being spent by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, why the best choice was not made,” said the Guwahati-based operator.
“Besides, the Volvo buses also have two emergency exit windows which could have been used in case of an emergency situation, which was ignored. Luckily, no one was injured in the incident despite the stone breaking through the window panes,” said Manoj Haloi, a Guwahati-based transport operator.
Unlike the bus used for the Aussies in Guwahati, Volvo buses come with windshields made of laminated glass, which is designed to offer the highest levels of safety in the event of a crash. The laminated glass is made up of two pieces of glass, with a thin layer of vinyl between them.
“We do not know who makes the choice. But the local board should have made the best choice,” said another transport operator.
The bus which was used to ferry the Australian team for transport, did not have strong security specifications which was why the stone broke through the window.