Maharashtra: Sports event called off amid row on water 'misuse'

Latur: A sports event being organised by supporters of former Maharashtra Chief Minister late Vilasrao Deshmukh's son Amit has been cancelled amid claims of misuse of water for ground work at the venue in the drought parched Latur district.

Moiz Shaikh, the organiser of the Amit Deshmukh district volleyball tournament scheduled on March 28, on Thursday said the event has been called off.

"Amit Deshmukh contacted us and asked us to take an appropriate decision. Accordingly, the organisers met and decided to cancel the event," Shaikh told PTI.

However, Shaik, President of Latur city unit of Congress, did not elaborate on the reasons for calling off the tournament.

Earlier on March 19, authorities in Latur had imposed an order prohibiting the gathering of more than five persons in areas around 20 water storage tanks until May 31 to avoid any possible violence over water.

The order, issued under section 144 of CrPC, was imposed in notified places including all tanker-filling points, public wells, tanker-plying routes and storage tanks in the district.

Shaikh had yesterday dismissed the claims of using 'thousands of litres' of water in the ground ahead of the event, saying the ground belongs to the government and its upkeep is their responsibility. "We had just hired it for a day," he had said.

"Around seven-eight buckets of waste water was used for sprinkling on the ground and not 2,500 litres as claimed by some," Shaikh had said, adding such claims were being made by their political rivals.

Amit, Congress MLA and Deshmukh's political heir, whose birthday was on March 21, is out of the country along with family and friends, party sources said, adding he is expected to return later this week.

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