Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) whether it could shift Indian Premier League (IPL) matches out of Pune in view of the grim water crisis in Maharashtra even as the cricket board said it would procure treated sewage water for maintenance of pitches in Mumbai and Pune.
A bench of Justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik, hearing a PIL by NGO Loksatta Movement challenging use of large quantities of water in stadiums at a time when the state was reeling under severe drought conditions, asked the BCCI to respond to this on Wednesday.
The judges also asked the board whether it can contribute to the Chief Minister's drought relief fund. As the BCCI said it had supplied 40 lakh litres of water to stadiums per day for IPL tournaments so far, the judges asked whether it was ready to supply the same quantity to water-starved villages in and around Pune.
During the hearing, the Cricket Board counsel Rafiq Dada informed the bench that BCCI had tied up with Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) to procure treated sewage water for IPL matches to be played in Mumbai and Pune.
According to a report on DNA, the intervener has requested the court that it ban cheerleaders during the matches in the IPL as this may affect the 'sentiments of the people affected by drought'.
Nine IPL matches have been planned in Pune and eight in Mumbai, where the opening match was held on 9 April at Wankhede stadium, the BCCI's counsel told the court.
Three matches are slated to be held in Nagpur, and IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab has agreed to shift them to Mohali or elsewhere if the HC tells it, he said.
BCCI lawyer Rafiq Dada brings half a litre water sample being used for watering the pitches in Court, says its murky & unfit for drinking.
— ANI (@ANI_news) April 12, 2016
Everyday, 7-8 tankers of treated sewage water would be supplied to the stadiums, Dada said, adding use of treated sewage water should be encouraged because after treating it is released into the sea and goes wasted now, he said.
"In this case, instead of discharging treated sewage water into the sea, we are using it in the stadiums," the BCCI counsel said.
The bench also asked RWITC to give an undertaking whether it would supply treated sewage water for the ground maintenance in Pune.
The HC had lambasted the BCCI during the last hearing on the use of huge quantities of water for the pitches. The BCCI Counsel said that after the High Court pulled up the cricket Board for using water in stadiums it has taken the issue very seriously.
In another development, Maharashtra acting Advocate General Rohit Dev informed the court of the immediate and long term measures the Government would adopt to meet the drought situation.
With inputs from PTI