The Board of Control For Cricket in India (BCCI) told the Bombay high court on Tuesday it has requested the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) to provide water from its sewage treatment plant for the 17 IPL matches to be held in Mumbai and Pune.
The court was hearing the PIL filed by an NGO against holding Indian Premiere League matches in Maharashtra in view of the severe water crisis in the state where nearly 70% region has been declared drought-hit, forcing the government to impose rationing in many parts.
The PIL had said 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.
The RWITC has agreed to provide seven to eight tankers from its plant, BCCI informed the court.
The cricket body also told the court that Kings XI Punjab are considering to shift the three matches out of Vidarbha to Mohali. The court will now hear arguments at 3pm as Maharashtra government’s affidavit was not ready.
Kings XI co-owner Ness Wadia had said on Monday that the franchise is “very seriously considering” shifting its three IPL matches from Maharashtra to some other venue.
They are scheduled to play Delhi Daredevils on May 7 in Nagpur, followed by a match against Mumbai Indians on May 13 in Mumbai and against Rising Pune Supergiants in Pune on May 21.
A bench led by justice VM Kanade had earlier allowed the first match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede in Mumbai on April 9 considering the BCCI’s submission that a stay would be “unfair” since the PIL was filed at the last hour and all arrangements, including the sale of tickets for the match, were already made.
The bench had taken a strict view against both the state government and the cricket associations for scheduling and subsequently justifying the matches in the state despite the situation of acute water shortage. It said that the water crisis in Maharashtra was now an “emergency” and a “political will” was needed to resolve it.
The bench had directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit detailing its policy on procurement and distribution of water, its contingency plan to tackle the situation in the state, and to identify the source of water distributed or sold by private tankers.
The bench had also asked whether the state proposes to impose restrictions on organising large gatherings, weddings, receptions etc. between April and May owing to the water shortage.
It had taken a particularly stern note of the BCCI’s submission that the pitches in the state were of international standard and would die a “natural death” if not watered adequately each day.
It had also directed the cricket associations to conduct a meeting and decide upon changing the venue of the remaining matches.