DHAKA (Reuters) - Real cricket bats, the logo of the International Cricket Council, the managing body of the tournament, and welcome messages from the Bangladesh Cricket Board were displayed at the VIP lounges of Bangladesh's two international airports. Dhaka - The Bangladeshi capital is abustle in the run-up to next week's opening of the cricket World Cup, as the city and residents pull out all the stops to prepare a fitting welcome. Roadside shops and businesses gleam in their new coats of paint, the town's workers are applying road markings to barely dry asphalt after many of the city's long-neglected roads have been resurfaced, and decorative electric lights hang between newly painted lampposts. Homes, airports, guest houses, hotels and restaurants have been asked to spruce up ahead of the tournament. Beggars and street hawkers are nervously awaiting their forced relocation from the most visible areas. Makeshift measures have been introduced to curb the choking congestion that is a part of daily Dhaka life. The objective is to present as positive a face as possible to the thousands of foreigners expected to visit the country, which is co-hosting the cricket World Cup from February 19 to April 2, and where the opening ceremony is to be held on February 17. As important as showing the best of Bangladesh is hiding the worst, in a country where 40 per cent of the population live below the poverty line. But authorities say they fully prepared to meet the challenge, more so even than co-hosts India and Sri Lanka, a top official of the Bangladesh Cricket Board said. "This World Cup will be the defining moment in the history of our cricket," AHM Mustafa Kamal said. Bangladesh is to host the inauguration ceremony and eight matches in the cities of Dhaka and the port city of Chittagong, where similar urban beautification projects are under way, supervised by local authorities and the state-run Tourism Corporation. Dhaka City Corporation has spent over 7.5 million US dollars (about R55-million) on renovating roads and decorating its streets, with some private companies have also contributing to the cosmetic improvement of the city. "We are trying to give the city a beautiful look during the World Cup with our limited resources as many foreign dignitaries will visit the country," Dhaka's Mayor Sadek Hossain Khoka said. As the country has been reeling under severe power crisis, alternative arrangements are being made to ensure continuous supply during the World Cup. District administrations have been asked to provide alternative power suppliers to the giant screens they will be erecting at strategic points in all 64 towns across the country. "We have prioritised the venues, especially where the evening matches will take place, for duplicate or triplicate connections to ensure uninterrupted power," AHM Alamgir Kabir, chairman of state-owned Power Development Board said. He said citizens had also been requested to be sparing of their own consumption as the country will face a shortage of over 1,000 megawatts at peak cricket-viewing times. "Some industries have also been asked not to run their units during the peak hour," he added. Most of Bangladesh's 153 million people, the poor and the better-off alike, are avid cricket fans, and thousands were observed fighting for tickets when they went on sale at the banks. But such incidents of incivility aside, the Bangladeshis are welcoming the opportunity to show their cricket-loving face to the world. "We are happy to be hosting an international event like the cricket World Cup," said Anwar Hossain, a cricket fan from suburban Kawla. "A good job of hosting it will help improve our image across the globe." In Chittagong a number of digital signboards and 450 banners have been installed over the roads to inform visitors of the heritage and history of Chittagong and Bangladesh, officials said. Real cricket bats, the logo of the International Cricket Council, the managing body of the tournament, and welcome messages from the Bangladesh Cricket Board were displayed at the VIP lounges of Bangladesh's two international airports - Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka and Shah Amanat International Airport in Chittagong.