On Wednesday, Bombay High Court rapped BCCI and other cricket associations in Maharashtra for wasting water on pitches when the state is facing severe drought conditions.
The court suggested the cricket board to shift IPL matches in Maharashtra to other venues where there is no water crisis.
“How can you (cricket associations and BCCI) waste water like this. People are more important or 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,” a division bench headed by Justices V M Kanade and M S Karnik said, while hearing a PIL filed by NGO ‘Loksatta Movement’.
“Only if water supply to BCCI is cut, you will understand,” the court lashed out.
The court also gave the state government a day’s time to spell out what steps it plans to take on the issue.
The court observed that it was ultimately the government’s responsibility to impose restraint during drought conditions.
On Tuesday, the High Court had sought responses on the matter from all other respondents including the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Vidarbha Cricket Association, Maharashtra government and the civic bodies of Mumbai and Nagpur.
The PIL had challenged the use of nearly 60 lakh litres of water to maintain pitches at three stadiums in the state which will hold IPL matches.
The bench was also informed that Wankhede stadium will be using over 40 lakh litres water for the seven IPL matches to be held there.
The petitioner then argued that pending hearing of the PIL, the court should grant an interim order restraining all the 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 on Thursday.
The court also asked state’s acting Advocate General Rohit Deo to appear for the state government in the matter tomorrow.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s advocate Trupti Puranik told the High Court that they were supplying water to Wankhede stadium only for drinking purposes.
On the other hand Mumbai Cricket Association’s advocate told the court that they are purchasing water to maintain the pitches. This water is non-portable and cannot be used for drinking purposes. He also said that the association will come out with some contingency plan to tackle the water crisis.
(With inputs from PTI)