'Is IPL more important than people?' HC raps BCCI, suggests IPL matches should be shifted out of drought-hit Maharashtra

Mumbai: Rapping the BCCI and cricket associations in Maharashtra over water wastage at a time when the state is reeling from severe drought, the Bombay High Court said on Wednesday that Indian Premier League (IPL) matches should be shifted elsewhere, ideally a place where there is no water crisis.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

"Only if water supply to BCCI is cut, you will understand," the court observed.

The court also told the state that it is ultimately the government's responsibility and duty to do something about the water wastage and impose some kind of restraint.

It also asked the state to spell out by Thursday the steps it plans to take on the issue. "How can you (cricket associations and BCCI) waste water like this? Are people not more important than 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?" asked a division bench headed by justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik, while hearing a PIL filed by NGO Loksatta Movement.

"Ideally, you should shift the IPL matches to some other state where water is in abundance," the court observed.

The high court had sought responses from all other respondents, including the MCA stadium in Pune, Vidarbha Cricket Association, the Maharashtra state government and the civic bodies of Mumbai and Nagpur.

The PIL has challenged the usage of nearly 60 lakh litres of water to maintain pitches at three stadiums in the state, which will hold IPL matches.

The court asked the Mumbai Cricket Association how much water would be used at Wankhede stadium, to which MCA's advocate said they would be using over 40 lakh litres for the seven IPL matches to be held there. To this, the court said it is a huge number. The petitioner then said that pending 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 next hearing on Thursday. The court also asked state acting advocate general Rohit Deo to appear for the state government in the matter.

Updated Date: Apr 06, 2016 18:52 PM

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