Dhaka: An overspend on security for the Cricket World Cup has forced the Bangladesh government to divert money from other departments to meet a $7 million (Rs 31.5 crore) shortfall, officials said on Thursday.
“The expenses have overshot the budget, but that would not hamper the event, as the required funds are being diverted from other governmental sources,” a senior official of the sports ministry said.
Playing safe: The World Cup opening ceremony in Dhaka. Bangladesh’s cost of hosting the tournament has overshot the budget by $7 million. Ashok Nath Dey/Hindustan Times
Ensuring security for the players, officials and fans took up the bulk of the overspend, he said without giving details.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina told a parliament session late on Wednesday that hosting the Cricket World Cup would cost her government some $67 million, against the estimated budget of some $60 million.
Imports of sophisticated scanners and other security equipment, deployment and the movement of security involved a huge cost which would also continue until the end of March when World Cup games end in the country, officials of the home affairs ministry said.
Bangladesh, which has a population of around 160 million many of whom live in poverty, is jointly hosting the 19 February-2 April event with India and Sri Lanka.
“The expenses for holding the Cricket World Cup successfully will reach an estimated 4.77 billion taka ($67 million),” Hasina told the parliamentary session while answering a question.
“A sum of 4.23 billion taka ($60 million) was allocated in the annual budget for 2010-11 (July-June) fiscal for the Cricket World Cup event to be hosted in the country partially,” Hasina said.
Following Hasina’s statement in parliament, a finance ministry official denied that Bangladesh had run out of budget earmarked for the tournament that began following a grand gala opening ceremony in Dhaka on 17 February, inaugurated by the Prime Minister.
Ahead of the opening, Bangladesh developed international cricket grounds in Dhaka, Chittagong and Fatullah near Dhaka.
Authorities also spruced up parts of the two main cities where some of the players of the 14 participating teams were expected to be based.
Bangladesh meet West Indies in Dhaka on 4 March in a Group B match. Bangladesh beat Ireland by 27 runs on 25 February after they were beaten by India by 87 runs in the opening match on 19 February.