The Bombay High Court asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) whether it would be willing to contribute to the drought relief efforts in the state, even as the cricket board informed the bench that it would only use recycled water for the IPL matches in Maharashtra. During the same hearing, the state intimated that it had no objections to the cash-rich tournament being moved elsewhere.
The Bombay High Court asked the BCCI how much water it had used for the IPL so far and asked it to send the same amount to drought-hit areas. File Pic/AFP
As the BCCI said it had supplied 40 lakh litres of water to stadiums per day for IPL tournaments so far, the judges asked whether it was ready to supply the same quantity to water-starved villages in and around Pune. Justice Kanade also asked the BCCI, “Are you willing to deposit money in the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund? Supply the amount of water that you have already used for IPL to drought hit areas of rural Maharashtra.”
The BCCI senior counsel Rafique Dada told the bench comprising justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik that the board had tied up with Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) for water supply, with the help of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. The club manages the race courses at Mahalaxmi and Pune, and will supply around seven tankers of recycled water every day from its sewage treatment plants, said Dada.
Dada also showed the bench a bottle of murky water and said this was the treated sewage water from RWITC, which was clearly non-potable, so it would not be a waste to use it to maintain pitches.
RWITC will supply this water to stadiums in Mumbai and Pune, he added. Nine matches are planned in Pune and eight more in Mum-bai, where the opening match was held on April 9 at Wan-khede stadium.
However, the three matches slated to beheld in Nagpur will have to be moved to Mohali, as the court asked that the Kings XI Punjab team also be made party to the petition, as both of their matches scheduled in Nagpur will have to be shifted.
Justice Kanade also asked the BCCI whether RWITC is willing to give a written undertaking that it will supply water for IPL matches.
The matter has been kept for today and BCCI has been asked to bring answers to the questions. The petitioner, Lok Satta Foundation, said wasting water during times of drought was not good, as people are dying because of scarcity of water.
But Justice Kanade then asked, “Where were you when the T20 World Cup was played? It ended on April 3. Wasn’t water wasted then?”
'No issue if IPL is moved'
Advocate General Rohit Dev told the bench that the state had no objection to the matches being shifted out of Maharashtra. BCCI secretary had earlier warned that this would involve a loss of around R10 crore for the state, but Dev told the court, “The figure of Rs 100 crore was exaggerated. We will lose revenue but it will far less than that, and the issue of water scarcity is important.”