Mumbai: Three days before the Indian Premier League begins, the Bombay High Court has reprimanded Maharashtra's cricket body for the many litres of water it will use to prepare pitches for the world's richest cricket tournament at a time when large parts of the state are reeling under drought.
- Ideally, matches should be shifted: High Court to Mumbai cricket body
- Cricket body argues water purchased and used is not of drinking quality
- At least 19 IPL matches scheduled to be played in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur
"How can you waste water like this? Are people more important or IPL? How can you be so careless," the court said while hearing a petition, and also, "This is criminal wastage. You know the situation in Maharashtra."
The Maharashtra Cricket Association or MCA has argued that it purchases water for its use and also that this water is non-potable or water you cannot drink.
"Only if water supply to BCCI is cut will you understand," said the High Court, suggesting that IPL matches to be held in Maharashtra be shifted to other states which do not face a shortage of water.
It also ordered the state government to act against waste of water and inform it of the steps it plans to take. The court will continue hearing on the petition against the watering of cricket pitches tomorrow.
This year's IPL begins with a star-studded opening ceremony on Friday evening. Matches will begin on Saturday, April 9.
"Our sentiments are with drought-affected Marathwada. But some litres of water needed for two-three grounds will not solve the water problem. Matches will continue as per schedule," IPL Chairman Rajiv Shukla said yesterday.
The petitioners say an estimated 60 lakh litres of water will be used for the 19 matches scheduled to be played in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur in the state. But it seems to be an understatement. The Mumbai cricket body told the court that 40 lakh litres would be needed just for Mumbai matches.
Pune and Nagpur are facing an acute shortage of water but it's the rain shadow region of Marathwada, which is worst hit by the drought. Dam water has dipped to just 22 percent across the state, while in Marathwada, only five percent water remains as seven of the 11 major dams have dried up.
"At such a time, we must as a collective, show a virtue called solidarity. It does not show good grace to hold the IPL which is going to guzzle 60 lakh litres of water for all the matches," Parineeta Dandekar, Associate Coordinator, South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People said.