The Bombay High Court has advised the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday to shift all the remaining Indian Premier League matches scheduled in Maharashtra on and after April 30 onwards to another state.
The Bombay HC observed that shifting of IPL matches will not be solving the problem, but if water is diverted to drought hit areas problem can be solved to some extent.
This comes as a big blow for the BCCI as a total of 13 matches are to be shifted out of the state.
The Bombay HC had been hearing the apprehensions of moving the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches out of Pune and Mumbai due to severe water crisis.
The High Court also stated the Maharashtra Government to monitor the promised water (by BCCI), see that its supplied to affected areas.
The High Court also said that plight of people affected by drought cannot be ignored before adding that the state’s water policy should be monitored.
The court has given 15 days time to the BCCI to make logistical arrangements.
On Wednesday, the BCCI has said to the Bombay High Court, that the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) is willing to provide water to affected areas reeling under drought.
BCCI has claimed to pay Rs. 5 crore directly for drought relief. They have also assured that the RWITC has given in undertaking that they will not back out.
The BCCI has also stated that the board will provide equivalent amount of water used for the Indian Premier League.
According to report in ANI, the BCCI has gone on to say that the RWITC has given undertaking about supply of required recycled sewage water for Mumbai and Pune stadiums.
A report in the Hindustan Times claims that the BCCI is ready to supply 64 lakh litres of unpotable water to drought affected areas in Maharashtra.
Hearing on IPL matches in Maharashtra, the BCCI has also informed court that, they will try to shift matches in Nagpur somewhere else.
“We will consult VCA to shift Nagpur matches somewhere else”.
With water scarcity looming in the state, BCCI says that they are many ways to find long term solutions for the problem.
The BCCI also argued against the plea saying that transferring matches would have been possible if it was taken a month back.
Meanwhile, the Pune franchise have told the court that they have invested a lot of money, and that shifting matches out will disturb the economic balance and brand value.
According to report in the Hindustan Times, the Mumbai and Pune franchise will donate Rs.5 crore each towards the CM’s drought relief fund. This comes after the Bombay HC on Tuesday, had asked the BCCI to consider shifting the tournament out of state and has demanded answers from the board.
The Bombay HC also questioned the BCCI that whether the board can provide 40 lacs litre water which it used earlier to the affected drought areas?
The second question was how much fund can the board donate to the Chief Minister fund for drought affected areas?
The BCCI on Tuesday, was said to have told the court that they will be using sewage water and not tank water for watering the pitches.
The state raised question over BCCI after the non-potable theory was questioned, as water used for IPL opening match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants was questioned.
The state is said to have asserted on shifting IPL out of the state and have no affinity for matches.
A two-fold strategy (short and long term measure) is said to have been dwelled upon by the state after the court asked the state for provisions.
Reports state that a total of 70 lakh litres of water is stated to be used for the season in IPL.
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Loksatta Movement and others stated that as much as 60 lakh litres of water is proposed to be used for maintaining cricket pitches in the three venues that will host the IPL matches in Maharashtra.
Earlier, hearing the PIL, a division Bench headed by Justice VM Kanade refused to stay the first match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede in Mumbai on April 9.
However, the court asked the the government to give a detailed reply by April 12. It has also asked the organisers to hold a meeting and a take decision on other matches to be held in Maharashtra.
The High Court had earlier also reprimanded MCA 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.
There have been demands to shift all IPL matches out of Maharashtra due to the crisis in the state as in the on-going season of IPL, Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur – are scheduled to host a total of 20 games.
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