Amidst the row over hosting Indian Premiere League matches in drought-hit Maharashtra, the Bombay high court on Tuesday asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) if it could shift some of the nine matches scheduled to be held in Pune to another state.
A bench led by Justice VM Kanade also asked the BCCI whether it was willing to make a donation to the chief minister’s drought relief fund and, if so, how much. It also asked whether it was willing to donate the lakhs of litres of non-potable water that it ordinarily procures from tankers and other private sources to maintain Wankhede Stadium to villages affected by the drought.
The court’s query came after the BCCI told it that IPL team Kings XI Punjab was considering shifting three of its matches scheduled to be held in Nagpur to Mohali in Punjab. “In fact we had expected that the BCCI would voluntarily take a stand similar to that taken by Kings XI Punjab. We thought that BCCI would understand the gravity of the situation and shift the matches out of Maharashtra to any other state that has adequate water,” the bench said. Though the BCCI replied orally to the bench’s queries, the court directed it to provide its answers in writing by Wednesday. The court also directed Kings XI Punjab to implead itself as a party to the ongoing hearing and confirm its decision to shift matches out of Nagpur.
Earlier in the day, the BCCI had attempted to negotiate a truce, telling the high court that it will only use sewage water to maintain IPL pitches and grounds in Mumbai and Pune.
Appearing for BCCI, senior counsel Rafiq Dada told the court that after the previous hearing on April 7, cricket associations have entered into an agreement with the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) through which the club will provide water for pitches and grounds from its sewage treatment plant. Under the agreement, starting Tuesday, RWITC will provide seven to eight tankers of water every day till the end of May to maintain pitches in Mumbai and Pune for the 17 matches scheduled to be held in the two cities, Dada said. Dada also brought along a bottle of ‘grey coloured’ sewage water from the turf club’s treatment to prove that it couldn’t be used for drinking.
“The court’s ire in the last hearing proved good as we have taken the issue very seriously. The cricket associations had an internal meeting and then wrote to RWITC. This water from their STP in Mahalaxmi merely goes into the sea after treatment. It cannot be used for any other purpose. Thus, we can use it for IPL,” Dada said. “Our agreement with the turf club has taken care of a major grievance,” he added.