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Bombay high court restrains Maharashtra government from giving Pune dam water for IPL

mumbai Updated: Apr 19, 2018 10:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Bombay high court,Maharashtra government

The restraint came after additional government pleader Geeta Shastri told the bench the application of the association seeking renewal of the January 9, 2012 agreement was under consideration and could be finalised by the end of the month.(FILE)

The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday restrained the Maharashtra government from renewing an agreement that allowed the Maharashtra Cricket Association to draw 2.5 lakh litres of water from Pawna dam to prepare the International Stadium at Pune for eight Indian Premier League (IPL) matches of the season.

“It is absolutely wrong to grant supply irrigation water to Maharashtra Cricket Association for industrial purpose,” said a bench of justice Abhay Oka and justice Riyaz Chagla. “Why should water be allowed to be drawn by Maharashtra Cricket Association,” said the bench and asked “what industry was the cricket association running”.

The restraint came after additional government pleader Geeta Shastri told the bench the application of the association seeking renewal of the January 9, 2012 agreement was under consideration and could be finalised by the end of the month.

The order came even as senior advocate SM Gorwadkar, who represented the association, maintained they have harvested enough rainwater and would not require supply from any external source this season.

Gorwadkar said the association will require roughly 50,000 litres of water to prepare the pitch and ground for every match and if additional supply was required, it would use treated sewerage water offered by the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation for free. He said the water is clearly non-potable and nobody is willing to use it for any purpose.

The senior advocate was responding to a public interest litigation filed by Loksatta Movement, a non-profit voluntary association, raising concerns over the large scale “wastage” of water to prepare cricket pitches and outfields for T-20 tournament in 2016, when Maharashtra was reeling under acute water shortage. It has also sought strict compliance with provisions of the Maharashtra Water Resources Regulatory Authority Act, 2005, in order to ensure priorities are set and strictly followed in usage of water.

During the course of hearing of the PIL on Wednesday, the bench questioned as to how the association was allowed to draw irrigation water for cricket matches under the guise of supply for “industrial use.” The judges felt that IPL matches will fall under the category of recreational activity and not industrial one. “At least, none of the respondents has claimed so far that cricket is an industry,” the judges said in lighter vein.

First Published: Apr 19, 2018 10:13 IST