The Rajasthan high court on Wednesday gave the government three days to say how it is tackling an acute water shortage in the state, responding to a private plea seeking a ban on IPL cricket matches in parched Jaipur.
IPL or no IPL, Rajasthan should be concerned about the water crisis in the state, a bench of Justice Ajay Rastogi and Justice DC Somani said. The case will be heard again on May 3.
The court’s observation comes after 19 districts, including Jaipur, were declared drought-hit, prompting the government to adopt emergency measures such as sending water trains and tankers to villages.
The court had asked the government on April 21 why IPL matches were shifted to Jaipur when the region was battling an acute water shortage. On Wednesday, the bench said the state has an obligation to make potable water available to its people and should submit a detailed plan by April 30 on how it wished to do that.
Earlier, the court issued notices to the government, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and the Rajasthan Cricket Association after a petition sought a ban on the T20 league matches in drought-affected Jaipur.
The court said a retired judge will be appointed as commissioner who along with a police officer “shall see to it that not a drop of potable water is used” during the matches.
Singhvi said his client, the Mumbai Cricket Association, had offered to use treated sewage water to maintain the outfield. For the pitch, he said, the organisers will use 10 to 12 buckets of water not fit from drinking. Similarly, he promised, non-potable water will be used for the toilets.
Challenging the high court verdict, Singhvi said it had disallowed the matches on the ground it cannot police water usage.
The top court bench was not convinced with the counterpoint and advised the counsel not to get into any controversy. “You will get treated sewage, which we do not know how healthy it is. It’s better you shift out.”