Terming as “serious issue”, the drought-like situation in Maharashtra, the Bombay High Court said it needs to look into it while hearing a PIL against use of water for the purpose of maintaining pitches prior to the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament.
Besides, another similar PIL, filed in the high court by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar, sought a direction to the IPL Commissioner to pay tax on water, as about 60,000 litres per day would be required to maintain the pitches.
A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade was hearing the PIL filed by NGO ‘Loksatta Movement’ challenging the use of nearly 60 lakh litres of water to maintain pitches at three stadiums in the state which will hold IPL matches.
“This is a serious issue and we need to look into it,” the high court said and posted the PIL for hearing on Wednesday.
According to the petition, the state is reeling under a drought and acute water shortage as levels in dams and lakes have gone down.
“There is already a scarcity of drinking water and water for sanitation purposes and the state authorities are turning a blind eye,” the petition said.
It said that under the Maharashtra State Water policy, the government has prioritised use of water, and usage of water for recreation and other purposes comes last in the priority list.
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) told the high court that tickets for the IPL matches have been already sold and huge loss would be caused if they are cancelled.
The court, while posting the PIL for hearing, sought responses from all other respondents, including the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Vidarbha Cricket Association, Maharashtra government and the civic bodies of Mumbai and Nagpur.
Meanwhile, Tirodkar in his petition sought a direction to IPL Commissioner to pay tax on water, as about 60,000 litres per day would be required to maintain pitches.
He sought an undertaking from state government that it would supply 1,000 litres of water per day to each family of drought-hit districts till the time rains fill up the need.
“The IPL Commissioner should be asked to pay tax of Rs 1,000 per litre for meeting expenses of supplying water to the drought-affected district,” said the PIL, which is expected to come up for hearing soon.