Bilaspur: The Chhattisgarh High Court in Bilaspur on Friday allowed holding of two scheduled matches of Indian Premier League in the state capital Raipur while asking the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Chhattisgarh State Cricket Sangh (CSCS) to provide free drinking water to spectators.
IPL matches are scheduled to be held on 20 and 22 May at Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium, Raipur.
A division bench of Justices Pritinker Diwaker and Inder Singh Uboweja passed an interim order on two PILs seeking shifting of the IPL matches from Raipur due to the drought in the state, petitioners' lawyers Rajnish Singh Baghel and Vimlesh Bajpayee said.
"The court observed that drinking water would be made available to the spectators and the officials on duty by the event organisers (BCCI and CSCS), not by the state or the municipal corporation.
"This would be absolutely free of cost and at the same time it would also be the duty of the state and organisers to ensure that no untoward incident like loss of life happens during the IPL matches," Bajpayee added.
One of the petitions was filed by Kisan Congress leader Chandrashekhar Shukla and the other by RTI activists Kunal Shukla and Abhishek Pratap Singh.
The state was facing a massive water crisis and 117 tehsils were drought-affected, they said, adding that 70 wards of Raipur Municipal Corporation (RMC) alone were facing water scarcity and it would not be appropriate to use the water for IPL matches.
Chhattisgarh government had told the HC that neither the state nor its agencies will provide water for the matches.
Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court on Friday asked Uttar Pradesh government to file its reply on a petition opposing IPL cricket matches at Kanpur, scheduled next week, on the ground that the state is facing a drought-like situation and holding the events will put pressure on the already scanty water reserves.
A division bench, comprising Justice VK Shukla and Justice UC Srivastava, passed the order on the petition of Kanpur Jan Kalyan Sangh and fixed 16 May as the next date of hearing in the matter.
The Green Park Stadium at Kanpur is scheduled to hold two IPL matches on 19 and 21 May.
A preliminary objection was raised by the state government's counsel who argued that contrary to the contention made in the petition, preparing the ground at the stadium will require a tiny fraction of the 420 MLD of water supplied to Kanpur.
A similar petition, citing severe drought in Latur district of Maharashtra, was filed last month in the Bombay High Court which ordered that all IPL matches scheduled after 30 April be shifted out of the state.
The Maharashtra Cricket Association has challenged the order before the Supreme Court.