People are more important than playing IPL, says HC

The court noted that hosting the IPL in drought-hit Maharashtra would be a criminal waste of water, asking the state government whether the matches can be shifted out of the state

“Shift IPL to some other state, can it be done?” the Bombay High Court asked the cricket authorities — Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Mumbai Cricket Association — yesterday, while noting that hosting the matches in Maharashtra would lead to a “criminal” waste of water in these times of drought.

The Mumbai Cricket Association said only non-potable water is used to maintain the pitches and this is supplied by water tankers, but the petitioners questioned where the water is sourced from. File pic
The Mumbai Cricket Association said only non-potable water is used to maintain the pitches and this is supplied by water tankers, but the petitioners questioned where the water is sourced from. File pic

The bench of Justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik are hearing a PIL demanding that IPL matches be moved out of the state to avoid further water scarcity. Around 20 matches are likely to be played in the state, out of which eight are slated to be held here in Mumbai.

MCA’s senior counsel, AS Khandeparkar told the court that around 40,000 lakh litres of water would be required to maintain the grounds and pitches for the Mumbai matches alone.

And it will cost another 20,000 lakh litres to prepare the pitches in Pune and Nagpur, which is reeling under a severe water crisis. Advocates Arshil Shah and Ankita Verma, who appeared for the petitioner, Loksatta Movement, pointed out, “In total, around 60,000 lakh litres of water is likely to be used in the state to maintain the pitches, and in such conditions of drought, it will go completely against the water policy of the state.”

To this Justice Kanade observed, “How can you waste so much water; it’s criminal. People are more important than playing IPL. The cricket boards are mostly headed by politicians who have not done anything. We are not against the IPL, but some contingency plan must be in place.”

Justice Kanade asked the government pleader, Geeta Shastri, to make sure that no water is wasted during drought, and further asked the state to check where MCA was going to source so much water from. The MCA lawyer told the bench that the association mostly used non-potable water, which is not fit for consumption. He said this water is supplied by water tankers. To this, the petitioner’s lawyer, Shah, questioned where the non-potable water comes from?

The bench will likely pass an order in the matter today and has asked Maharashtra acting Advocate General Rohit Dev to be present.

40,000 lakh
The number of litres of water that will be spent on matches in Mumbai alone

Mumbai matches
April: 9, 16, 20, 28
May: 8, 13, 15
Finals: May 29

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