Mumbai: The Bombay high court admonished the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and the Maharashtra and Mumbai cricket associations over the wastage of water when the state is reeling under a severe drought, and said ideally Indian Premier League (IPL) matches should be moved out of the state.
The court also told the state that it is ultimately the government’s responsibility and duty to do act on the water wastage and impose some kind of restraint, and 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 the Loksatta Movement NGO.
“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 on Wednesday (April 6), had on Tuesday 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 the three stadiums in Maharashtra that are set to hold IPL matches.
In response to the court’s query on how much water will be used at the Wankhede stadium, the advocate for the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) said 40 lakh litres of water would be used for the seven IPL matches scheduled to be played at the stadium. The court observed that this is a huge number.
Trupti Puranik, advocate for the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, told the high court that the municipal body was supplying water to Wankhede stadium only for drinking purposes. MCA’s advocate added that the body was purchasing non-portable water to maintain the pitches.
The advocate appearing for the petitioner, however, said several villages in Maharashtra do not even have water for sanitation, cooking and other purposes, and this non-portable water could be of use in these villages.
The petitioner then said that pending the hearing of the PIL, the court should grant an interim order restraining all 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 Maharashtra’s acting Advocate General Rohit Deo to appear for the state government in the matter tomorrow.
The court also observed that Marathwada was not the only region facing a shortage of water and that the situation was equally bad in Thane, which adjoins Mumbai. The court also noted that in some places in Maharashtra, prohibitory orders under section 144 has been imposed in the vicinity of water supply spots.