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Shifting IPL matches won’t solve drought crisis

It’s more important to seek long-term solutions for addressing water scarcity issue says Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

MS Dhoni-AV

At a time when political parties and social activists have been demanding the shifting of IPL matches from Maharashtra to other states, India limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said shifting matches won’t solve drought crisis in the state and he called for long term solution for addressing this issue. Earlier the Bombay High Court had said that maintaining pitches for hosting IPL matches is a criminal waste and asked the BCCI and cricketing associations to clarify whether cricket is more important than people. Maharashtra has been reeling under worst drought since last four years as section 144 has been imposed in Latur and Parbhani and large number of farmers have committed suicide in the state.

Speaking about his views on IPL and water shortage in Maharashtra, Dhoni said, “If you see, all these questions are good to hear, I think for us it’s more important to seek long-term solutions.”

The dire situation over potable water in the state has sparked a raging debate over the suitability of playing IPL games in the state, besides leading to a PIL filed in the Bombay High Court challenging the use of large quantity of water for maintaining pitches despite the grave water crisis. Three big cities in Maharashtra – Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur – are to play host to a total of 20 games, out of which one has already been held on Saturday at the Wankhede Stadium.

“Whether IPL’s match number 5, 6 or 7 happens or not, I don’t think it makes much of a difference. But we have to look at a long-term solution… How we ensure water is sent to those areas where there is water shortage,” said Dhoni

“From what I have seen on TV quite a few dams are there, where only one or two per cent water is left. So we have to look at a long-term solution,” he added.

“I think people talking about whether matches should happen or not, it’s more momentarily driven than anything else. I think what’s important for us as a county is to see what the long-term solution is and we have to move in that direction,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.

On the other hand, BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur has said that Maharashtra will incur a loss of Rs 100 crore if IPL matches are shifted from the state.

“Maharashtra gains Rs 100 Cr from IPL and if the tournament goes out of the state, it will be a loss for the state,” said Thakur.

He said the figure is based on a study done by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) after the last edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Thakur said that Maharashtra government can utilise the money earned from IPL for undertaking drought relief work. He clarified the Cricket Board, too, is very concerned about the water crisis in the State and does not want to use potable water for maintaining the grounds. Thakur also added that IPL provides young cricketers an opportunity to showcase their talent.

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