Can’t spare potable water for IPL, says Fadnavis
His comments came a day after the Bombay High Court refused to grant a stay on the first match of the IPL series scheduled on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that his government was working on a plan to irrigate parched farmlands in order to arrive at a permanent solution to drought in many parts of the country. “We are working on a big scheme to bring water to farmlands. We need to have a permanent solution to the drought,” the Prime Minister said while addressing an election rally in Assam. IPL inaugural event took place in Mumbai’s NSCI Dome at Sardar Vallabhbhai Stadiumon Friday. The first match is scheduled for Saturday.
Earlier on Thursday, Bombay high court had come down heavily on the state government questioning its seriousness in tackling the drought situation in the state. “You (state) are dealing with people at large.... animals have died, cattle have died, people are dying and you want to maintain pitches and grounds?” the court had asked. However, the court had given the nod for the IPL opening match on April 9.
Under fire over huge water wastage for maintaining pitches in IPL, the chief minister said: “Our government has taken a strong position in the court. Even if IPL matches are shifted, we have no problem”. He further said that the government will not allow the IPL organisers to host the matches unless the state gets full assurance of using non-potable water. “It was put forth by the organisers (IPL) that they would use non-potable water. We have said unless we ensure that it is non-potable water we cannot allow,” he added.
The court had also sought to know from the state government and the municipal body whether the water supplied to the stadiums in tankers was potable or non-potable. On two consecutive days, the High Court had come down heavily on the state government, IPL organiser Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) and other cricket associations for “criminal wastage of water”.
A city-based NGO had petitioned the court challenging the use of over 60 lakh litres of water to maintain pitches and sought shifting of IPL matches out of the state given the second successive drought it is experiencing. Altogether 20 matches will be played in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur and all these cities are facing grim water crisis, said the petition.
The court had suggested for the IPL matches to be shifted to a state where water is in abundance and had asked “is your cricket match more important than people”. The court was informed by BCCI that they purchase water to maintain the grounds and it is non-potable and cannot be used for drinking purposes.
The court also directed the state government and the civic bodies where IPL matches are scheduled to be held to file separate affidavits by the next hearing date – April 12 – on the quality of water supplied to the stadia during the tournament. It also asked the government and civic bodies to inform whether there was any policy on supplying potable or non-potable water to Mumbai, Thane and other cities in the state and if any contingency plans were ready to tackle the looming water crisis.