The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to stay the first Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede in mumbai on April 9, despite water crisis in the state.
A division Bench headed by Justice VM Kanade were hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Loksatta Movement and others stated that as much as 60 lakh litres of water is proposed to be used for maintaining cricket pitches in the three venues that will host the IPL matches in Maharashtra.
The court, however, in sharp words told the BCCI, “It is a question of priority – a game or people… Are you going to maintain gardens and stadiums when people are dying? Is this what you are saying?”
Justice Kanade questioned how the game could be given priority when people were dying from lack of water. He also directed the acting attorney general of the state to ensure that water is provided to people. The Maharashtra Cricket Association also submitted an affidavit on the water used during IPL matches, but advocate Arshil Shah, who was representing the newspaper, argued that the document did not mention the source of the water.
The BCCI had earlier said, “Water is required throughout the year. On match day it is not needed. So why are you against IPL? If you have to be logical then stop watering of gardens and for everything else.” It also said that it had allowed a stadium in Latur to “die a natural death.”
Overall Maharashtra is scheduled to host 20 matches in the ninth edition of the IPL. Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will host eight matches, including the tournament opener on April 9 and the final on May 29. Nine matches have been allotted to the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium in Pune, including the Eliminator on May 25 and Qualifier 2 on May 27, while three matches will be played at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, designated as home games for Kings XI Punjab.