IPL row: No matches in drought-hit Maharashtra post April 30, rules Bombay HC
New Delhi: In a huge relief to the drought-hit state of Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court today ruled that no matches of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) will be played in the state post April 30.
The matches scheduled until April 30 can, however, be held in the state, the court said, adding it could not afford to ignore the plight of people affected by drought.
The rest 13 matches, including the finale on May 29, that were scheduled to be played in Maharashtra next month, will have to be shifted to new venues as per the court direction.
The HC arrived to the decision of relocation of matches inspite of the series of offers made by the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI).
Earlier in the day, the board told the court that it is ready to supply more than 40 lakh litres of water to drought hit areas, “be it Latur or any place”. The Mumbai and Pune teams also agreed to deposit a sum of Rs 5 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.
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Also, in a bid to ensure water is not wasted in drought-hit Maharashtra, BCCI told Bombay HC that only sewage treated water would be supplied to stadiums in Mumbai and Pune for maintaining pitches in IPL matches.
"In 17 matches of IPL in Mumbai and Pune we will use treated sewage water," the BCCI lawyer informed HC during hearing on wastage of water during IPL matches in the state.
The lawyer said that recycled sewage water will be sufficient for the board to maintain pitches and thus this will help in tackling water crisis without using potable water.
The HC had yesterday asked BCCI if it could shift IPL matches out of Pune, to which the board said it will hold talks with the Cricket Association of Nagpur to shift some of the matches there.
However, the Pune Franchise refused to move out of their home ground.
A PIL was filed by a NGO named Loksatta Movement, which has questioned the need for holding IPL matches in Maharashtra as it would lead to a huge wastage of water when large parts of the state are reeling under severe water shortage.
Shifting matches will be a problem but working on it, says Rajeev Shukla
Left in a lurch after the Bombay High Court order the league's chairman Rajeev Shukla said moving the games at this stage will be a 'problem' but the BCCI is working on an 'alternative plan'.
"Organising the IPL is a gigantic work. It's not easy. All preparations had been done, completed. Now shifting the matches will be a problem," Shukla said.
"The key problem is water for farmers, which we are trying to find a solution to. We were willing to give water, contribute to the CM's fund. Now shifting matches will be a problem," Shukla said.
"If matches are to be shifted, where will they be moved, how will they be moved, all these issues are involved. And this comes after nobody raised an issue about the 24 World Twenty20 matches that were held recently," he said.
"Nobody raised these issues for six months. Whatever was required, we were willing to do. In fact, I would like to point out that a lot many other sports and cultural events are going on in Maharashtra, which also use water and they should also help," he added.
Shukla said even the sugar factories and golf courses should be pulled up for their water usage.
"Not only sugar factories, construction should also be stopped. All golf courses, they require huge amount of water, nothing is being done against these golf courses," he said.