Ministers want to felicitate Sachin with autographs!

Of all the mementoes and souvenirs that have come his wayin his long and illustrious career – and there have been many – this is one that the master blaster perhaps never saw coming. While thousands would scramble to get a precious autograph from the legend, the powers that be in the state government seem eager to turn the tables – and gift Tendulkar a ‘grand’ memento with their own signatures on it.

Gearing up for the farewell: It’s not just the state government. The whole city is making preparations to give the legendary cricketer a grand send-off. A massive banner on an apparel showroom in Crawford Market pays tribute him. Pic/Suresh KK

As part of its plans to give Tendulkar a grand send-off, the state government has commissioned the designing of a souvenir that with have signatures of that will have signatures of all the 40 incumbent members of the state cabinet, including those of the chief minister and his deputy.

They have also planned to host a grand event in honour of the little master, in which the special memento will be handed over to him. The ministers concerned have approached J J School of Arts to create a unique design for the memento, revealed a senior government official.

Accordingly, 30 ministers of cabinet rank and 10 ministers of state have been asked to submit their signature specimens at the earliest. Apart from the specimens, all the cabinet members have been asked to convey how they wish their names to appear on the memento, he said.

A committee specially appointed for the grand felicitation held its first meeting yesterday, where the green signal was given to broach the matter to Tendulkar and request him to revert with a suitable date on which the event can be held.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is said to be keen on the event and has instructed the sports department to facilitate the process of organisation. According to the government official, the idea of having the special memento designed by the J J School of Arts was mooted by the CM himself.

The deputy director of Sports for Mumbai region has been asked to coordinate with Tendulkar’s office to arrive upon a date and timing for the event, Sports Minister Padmakar Walvi said. “We want to have a two-three hour programme, in which a special show cultural show will also be presented. They want everything to be organised on a grand scale -- even the invitation card -- in keeping with the magnitude of the occasion. It’s a special event for a gifted player in the game of cricket,” he said.

“The event may be held in Mumbai, but we wanted it to be held at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune, as the venue is big enough to accommodate large numbers of people and has related amenities. But all these matters will be decided in the next meeting,” said the minister who is heading the five-member committee. A senior sports department official said that the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) is being requested to coordinate with the state to organise the event at the earliest available date.  

Unprecedented security cover
High-security cover will be provided for the Test match at the Wankhede Stadium. The five-day match will see round-the-clock police bandobast, with the cops planning nakabandis all over the city. Around 34,000 people are expected to visit the stadium daily. “We appeal to the people not to carry anything apart from mobiles and digital cameras,” said Dr Ravindra Shisve, deputy commissioner of police, Zone 1. Ticket-holders will have to walk to the stadium, as no vehicles will be allowed till the complex.

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