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Former BJP MLA opposes IPL matches in Rajkot

Rajkot (Guj): Members of Rashtriya Dalit Maha Sangh, led by former BJP MLA Siddharth Parmar, yesterday staged a dharna here opposing holding of IPL matches at Khandheri stadium in view of the water scarcity in the city and other areas in Gujarat.

Parmar and his supporters staged the sit-in near Ambedkar statue at Civil Hospital circle. "Farmers are committing suicide because of shortage of water for crops. At the same time thousands of gallons of water would be wasted to maintain cricket pitches and grounds," Parmar said.

The newly-built stadium at Khandheri is managed by Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) and will be hosting five Indian Premier League matches, starting from April 14.

"The cricketers should be ashamed that they are only interested in making money. They don't have any feelings for the farmers. We demand that all the IPL matches to be played here should be shifted elsewhere," said Parmar.

Rajkot has been facing a severe water shortage since the beginning of April. With major dams providing water to the city drying up, Rajkot Municipal Corporation recently imposed a water cut once every fortnight.

SCA, however, said Gujarat's water crisis was not as bad as in the neighbouring Maharashtra (where a PIL has been filed in the Bombay High Court opposing the IPL matches).

"Water crisis in Gujarat is not as bad as that in Maharashtra. Rajkot is also not facing any acute water shortage at present. We don't use drinking water supplied by RMC to maintain our ground. We have our own system to meet our water demand," said SCA secretary Niranjan Shah.

"We never waste water or use more than what is required to maintain the ground," Shah said.

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