IPL vs Drought: Match 1 at Wankhede; State to Probe Water Source 

BMC supplies only 22,000 litres, where is the rest of the water coming from?

Updated
Sports
4 min read
BCCI is under the scanner. (Photo: Reuters)

The hearing of a PIL, which was filed by an NGO, ‘Loksatta Movement,’ against the Indian Premier League (IPL), took place at the Bombay High Court. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has filed an affidavit on their consumption of water during IPL matches.

Read: Bombay HC: IPL Should Be Moved out of Maharashtra Due to Drought

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 BCCI and other cricket associations in Maharashtra have been pulled up for wasting water for maintaining pitches while the entire state reels under severe drought.

HC Decisions

The Bombay High Court has said there will be ‘no stay’ on the first match of the IPL, scheduled to be held at Wankhede stadium on 9 April. However, it has directed the state to investigate where BCCI gets the rest of its water from if the government allegedly supplies them with just 22,000 litres of potable water.

HC has asked the Maharashtra government to make a statement by the coming Tuesday, 12 April on whether water supplied to stadiums is potable or non-potable.
A probe into the source of water has been ordered by the Bombay High Court. (Photo: iStock)
A probe into the source of water has been ordered by the Bombay High Court. (Photo: iStock)

‘Where Are These Lakhs of Litres of Water Coming From?’

The state’s acting attorney general (AAG), Rohit Deo, was asked by the Bombay High Court to appear on Thursday to discuss the matter further. Deo stated in court that the petitions mention the use of nearly 60 lakh litres of water to maintain the pitch is absurd as the state supplies only 22,000 litres of water. He said:

We just supply 22,000 litres of portable water to the stadium per day now, we don’t know where they get this lakhs of litres from. 
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/BCCI">@BCCI</a>)
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@BCCI)

Loksatta’s lawyer, Arshil Shah, said that this water is the same that Bombay Muncipal Corporation (BMC) supplies, but it is not known whether the water is being taken legally or illegally.

‘Monsoon Is 12 Weeks Away’

Advocate Arshil Shah stressed that several villages in Maharashtra do not even have water for sanitation, cooking and other purposes. The situation, it is known, is so bad that section 144 has been imposed in certains parts of Maharashtra.

Monsoon is 12 weeks away. In Latur and Parbhani, the situation is so bad that Section 144  is imposed. Many places in Mumbai are not getting water, so it is not right to hold IPL in Mumbai or other parts of Maharashtra. 


Section 144 has been imposed in many parts of Maharashtra because of the lack of water. (Photo Courtesy: Subrata Biswas/Greenpeace)
Section 144 has been imposed in many parts of Maharashtra because of the lack of water. (Photo Courtesy: Subrata Biswas/Greenpeace)

Justice vs MCA

The division bench consisting of Justice Kanade and MS Karnik continued the hearing from Wednesday and slammed the Ministry of Corporate Affairs advocate with responding questions.

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. 
Justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik, Division Bench

On Thursday, Justice Kanade commented on the disparity that is faced by people in Thane and surrounding areas, comparing it to the water being used licentiously by the IPL at large.

Here are people who can use as much water as they want and people in Thane get water once in three days.


A resident fills drinking water in containers from a municipal water tanker. (Photo: Reuters)
A resident fills drinking water in containers from a municipal water tanker. (Photo: Reuters)

MCA Advocate Questions Timing of Petition

The lawyer representing BCCI questioned the reason for filing a petition just four days before the first match on 9 April, when the schedule was declared a long time ago. The lawyer then added:

Around 50,000 litres of water is used for maintaining pitches but, when we have matches, we don’t use water for pitches. The water we use is just for watering the ground and sanitation purposes. So during IPL we need less water as on match days we can’t use water as we have to keep pitches dry. 
Rohit Sharma practicing at Wankhede stadium. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/BCCI">@BCCI</a>)
Rohit Sharma practicing at Wankhede stadium. (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@BCCI)

To this, Loksatta’s advocate Arshil Shah asked:

They (IPL) are just mentioning the amount of water they are using but not disclosing the source of water.

The MCA lawyer says that the pitch is not watered only during IPL. He added that every international pitch is maintained at all times, stressing that the water used by BCCI is not drinkable water.

The judge responds to this statement by asking if the court should ‘give priority to the game and let people die. People are dying and you want to maintain pitches?’

(With inputs from ANI.)

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