Rapping the BCCI and cricket associations in Maharashtra and Mumbai over water wastage when the state is reeling under severe drought, the Bombay High Court today said ideally Indian Premier League(IPL) matches should be shifted elsewhere, where there is no water crisis. “Only if water supply to BCCI is cut, you will understand,” the court observed.
The court also told the state that ultimately it is the government’s responsibility and duty to do something about this (water wastage) and impose some kind of restraint. It also asked the state government to spell out tomorrow what steps it plans to take on the issue. “How can you (cricket associations and BCCI) waste water like this. People are more important or your IPL matches? How can you be so careless? Who wastes water like this? This is criminal wastage. You know what the condition is in Maharashtra,” a division bench headed by Justices V M Kanade and M S Karnik said, while hearing a PIL filed by NGO ‘Loksatta Movement’.
The court also asked whether according to BCCI and the other cricket bodies, cricket matches are more important. “Ideally, you should shift the IPL matches to some other state where water is in abundance,” the court observed. The high court, while posting the PIL for hearing today, had yesterday sought responses from all other respondents, including the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Vidarbha Cricket Association, Maharashtra government and the civic bodies of Mumbai and Nagpur. The PIL has challenged the use of nearly 60 lakh litres of water to maintain pitches at three stadiums in the state which will hold IPL matches.
The court today asked the Mumbai Cricket Association how much water would be used in Wankhede stadium, to which MCA’s advocate said they would be using over 40 lakh litres water for the seven IPL matches to be held there. To this, the court said it is a huge number. The petitioner then said that pending hearing of the PIL, the court should grant an interim order restraining all the cricket associations in Maharashtra from using water to maintain the pitches.
The high court said it will consider the interim relief sought by the petitioner, during the hearing tomorrow.
The court also asked state acting Advocate General Rohit Deo to appear for the state government in the matter tomorrow.