WHILE hearing a matter on holding the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches in the state, the Bombay High Court Tuesday said the usage of water should be prioritised in accordance to the state’s water policy.
The public interest litigation filed by non-government organisation (NGO) Loksatta Movement and others stated that as much as 60 lakh litres of water was proposed to be used for maintaining cricket pitches at the three venues nominated in Maharashtra for Indian Premier League 2016.
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A division bench headed by Justice V M Kanade, which was hearing the PIL, said it was a serious issue, adding priority as per state water policy must be adhered to. The policy gives first priority to providing drinking water to people.
The Mumbai Cricket Association, while seeking more time to take instructions, added that the fact that tickets for the match had been sold needed to be considered.
The petition said, “The state is going through the worst kind of drought in a century and is facing acute water shortage. There is already a scarcity of drinking water and for sanitation purposes, but the state government, Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation have not raised any objection to the proposed wastage.”
It pointed out that this violated the National Water Policy and also the State Water Policy.
Maharashtra is to host around 20 matches of the total 60 games in the tournament. Of these, Mumbai will host eight matches even though Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai are facing serious water cuts, according to the petition.
The PIL also asked that the water should instead be used for the purpose of drinking, cooking, etc.
Another similar PIL has been filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar, seeking a direction to the IPL commissioner to pay tax on water.