Nagpur: In a much awaited verdict given today afternoon Bombay High court bench has ruled that no matches will be played in Maharashtra i.e. Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur after 30th April . BCCI had taken the plea that tickets have been bought till April 30th and it would be very difficult to cancel them and refund money.
Earlier in the day as per press reports , the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had informed the Bombay High Court of its decision to source treated sewage water from Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) to maintain pitches for 17 of the 20 IPL matches. There were for nine IPL matches to be played in Pune and eight in Mumbai.
A series of offers were made today in court to prevent the relocation of games. The Pune and Mumbai teams committed to donating Rs. 5
crore to the Chief Minister’s relief fund to help farmers in distress, and that cricket associations in the state will ensure 60 lakh litres of treated sewage water is supplied free of cost to any region selected by the government.
The court has in successive hearings flogged both the government of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and the organisers, the Board of Control for Cricket in India or BCCI, of prioritising money and sport above ordinary people. Judges have asked how water can be squandered on preparing pitches for games at a time when there is hardly any water for either farmers in villagers, or for the residents of the three venues – Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur.
The court did not buy this arguement at all. Yet BJP politicians went on coming out in support of IPL.
“Have five-star hotels been told to empty swimming pools?” asked Anurag Thakur, the secretary of the BCCI today before the verdict was announced. He blamed the Congress-NCP for mismanaged irrigation funds for which drought was responsible and people were in crisis. And he said ‘there should be no politics mixed with cricket!”
Ness Wadia owner of Punjab team has now welcomed the decision and said his team had already taken decision to move their matches out of Nagpur.
The sad part was that it had seemed that the Government of Maharashtra was convinced of this ‘package deal’ – non potable water to be used for cricket matches, ‘donations’ from BCCI and IPL teams for drought relief and cricket tamasha of IPL to go on as usual.
While people in Latur and Marathwada were saying “give us all the water you can. Potable/ non potable”. It seemed cruel to them that a sport could go on when they were fighting for every drop of water, and lakhs of litres of water would be used so games could go on.
Now the question is when almost all the country is reeling with drought like conditions WHERE WILL THE MATCHES GO?
What are our priorities as a nation?
Marathwada people are finding some solace in the fact that at least the courts understand their tragedy and travails.