Mumbai: The first IPL match would be played in Mumbai as per schedule after the Bombay High Court on Thursday did not grant stay on the IPL match and posted the matter for further hearing next Tuesday.
On April 12, the state government would be required to file a report on the source of water to tankers, which supply water to stadiums.
The court said a decision would be taken on whether to permit IPL matches in Maharashtra or transfer it somewhere else on the basis of that report.
The High Court has directed the state to investigate where BCCI gets the rest of the water from if government supplies them just 22,000 litres of potable water.
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday had sought responses from Maharashtra and Vidarbha Cricket Association, government of Maharashtra, and municipal corporations of Mumbai and Nagpur on a PIL filed against the use of water to maintain pitches prior to the Indian Premier League (IPL) tournaments.
Meanwhile, one more PIL was filed, seeking direction to the IPL Commissioner to pay tax on water so that the same could be used to supply water to drought-affected areas in the state.
The IPL tournament will begin on April 9, with the first match to be played at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. A total of 20 matches will be played in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. The final of the tourney, scheduled on May 29, will also be held at Wankhede Stadium.
The court was informed that nearly 60,000 litre water would be required every day to maintain pitches of stadiums where IPL matches were to be held. “This is a serious issue and we need to look into it,” said the division bench of Justice V.M. Kanade and Justice M.S. Karnik while hearing the PIL filed by NGO Loksatta Movement, challenging the use of 60 lakh litre water to maintain pitches at three stadiums in the state, where IPL matches would be held. The bench posted this matter for hearing on Wednesday.
"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 VM Kanade and MS Karnik said.
The PIL contended that the state was reeling under drought and acute water shortage, with levels in dams and lakes having gone down. The petition alleged that there was already scarcity of drinking water and water for sanitation purposes, to which, state authorities were turning a blind eye. According to the petition, under the Maharashtra State Water Policy, the government had prioritised usage of water, and usage for recreation and other purposes came last on the priority list.
The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) on Tuesday told the court that tickets for IPL matches had already been sold, and huge losses would be incurred if the matches were cancelled. However, the bench did not seem satisfied with the answer and asked all respondents, including Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium, Vidarbha Cricket Association, the Maharashtra government, and civic bodies of Mumbai and Nagpur to file their replies on Wednesday.
In the meantime, former journalist-turned-social activist, Ketan Tirodkar, filed a PIL in the high court, seeking direction to the IPL Commissioner to pay tax on water that would be used to maintain pitches. He sought an undertaking from the state government that it would supply 1,000 litre water per day to each family of the drought-hit districts till such time the rains satisfied their need. “The IPL Commissioner should be asked to pay a tax of Rs 1,000 per litre for meeting expenses of supplying water to the drought-affected district,” said the PIL. This petition is expected to come up for hearing soon.
Mr Tirodkar further said that the Maharashtra government had decided to supply 50 wagons containing 55,000 litre water each to Latur district, which amounted to approximately 30 lakh litre. Due to the drought situation, every house was currently getting 20 litre water per day, the PIL said....