Water crisis now casts shadow over IPL games in Saurashtra

Citing acute water crisis, local politico spearheads hunger strike to shift matches outside Saurashtra; cricket association claims it arranges for its own water

Looks like the anti-IPL sentiment is spreading like wildfire across the states of India that are currently facing acute water crisis owing to last year’s poor monsoon.

SCA secretary Niranjan Shah claims the water used for maintaining the grounds is not government-supplied and the association has made its own arrangements. Representation Pic/Thinkstock

After Maharashtra, Gujarat is the latest state to question the need for holding matches in Saurashtra at a time when people are grappling with the severe water shortage.

Led by former Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Siddharth Parmar, members of Rashtriya Dalit Mahasangh staged a token fast near Dr BB Ambedkar’s statue in Rajkot yesterday, urging Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to cancel Thursday’s match between Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Supergiants. The Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) has scheduled a total of five IPL matches.

"Water is priceless. It must be saved at any cost. At a time when people of Gujarat, particularly Saurashtra, are experiencing acute water crisis, it is unfair to waste so much water for keeping the cricket grounds lush green for useless matches," said Parmar.

He added, "Cattle are dying of thirst. Incidents of farmers committing suicides have become frequent in Saurashtra. What is this IPL after all? It is purely a commercial venture. It is nothing but a source of entertainment. A tamasha. Human lives are more important. With the whole of Gujarat facing a drought-like situation, Thursday’s match and other IPL games should be shifted to other states."

Parmar threatened that if the matches scheduled by the SCA were not cancelled, then a large number of people from different sections of society, including farmers and intellectuals, would take to the streets and ensure that not a single match is played ‘regardless of the circumstances’.

However, SCA secretary Niranjan Shah rubbished Parmar’s allegations that copious amount of water is being used for maintaining cricket grounds. "We have our own arrangements and resources for water at the stadiums. We don’t use government-supplied water for maintaining the grounds," Shah told mid-day.

He added, "For the match on Thursday and other IPL matches, we have made special arrangements for water for ground maintenance as well as the spectators. The arrangement made is similar to the one done by us for the matches played at the SCA in the past."

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