The ninth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will kick-start on 9 April when defending champions Mumbai Indians face Risining Pune Supergiants. The Bombay High Court has asked the BCCI and the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) on why the water should be wasted for the tournament and whether IPL matches are more important or the people, when the state is facing droughts.
A Mumbai based NGO, Loksatta Movement had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) over moving IPL matches out of the central Indian state. Maharashtra has three venues in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur and will host 20 matches, including the opener and the final at the Wankhede Stadium.
During the hearing of the petition, the court said: "How can you waste water like this? Are people more important or IPL? How can you be so careless. This is criminal wastage. You know the situation in Maharashtra."
The tournament will start in two days time and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla admitted that shifting the venues out of Maharashtra will not solve the water crisis.
"We are with the farmers of Maharashtra, and will look to help them in all possible ways. If the Maharashtra government brings a proposal (in this regard), then the BCCI president, all of us, will think in what way we can help the farmers," Shukla said, as quoted by ESPN Cricinfo.
"And I, through my MPLAD [Members of Parliament Local Area Development] fund, am going to personally adopt some villages in Marathwada [one of the regions hit hardest by the drought].
"If the water needed to irrigate two or three grounds were to solve the problem of Maharashtra's farmers, then I can't understand that.
"I don't think this [saving water by shifting matches] would serve any purpose. Sport is a different thing, it needs little water. Farmers need a huge amount of water. All political parties should come together to deal with this crisis."