IPL 2016 news April 7, 2016

IPL opener to be held in Mumbai after High Court adjourns hearing

Raunak Kapoor

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'BCCI can breathe a sigh of relief till the next hearing'

The opening match of IPL 2016 will be played in Mumbai on April 9 as scheduled after the Bombay High Court adjourned a matter related to the hosting of matches in the drought-hit state of Maharashtra. While hearing a Public Interest Litigation on Wednesday and Thursday, the High Court had sought an explanation from the BCCI and the three state associations on why water should be "wasted" on IPL matches in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur following a severe state-wide drought in recent months. The matter will next be heard on April 12.

While the division bench, comprising Justices VM Kanade and MS Karnik, has not yet passed an order, it has asked the Maharashtra government and Mumbai's civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, to file replies outlining plans to address the issue of water shortage in the state. The court has also asked for a report on how the water suppliers for organisations like the BCCI are getting water from. The Advocate General's office, appearing on behalf of the state, contended that 21,000 litres of water were sanctioned to the Wankhede Stadium for use per day, 0.00058% of the water utilised by city of Mumbai.

"We don't care about a tournament like the IPL. Their interests are purely commercial and to mint money," the court said on Thursday. "But just because they can pay for water tankers providing water at a premium rate, while others can't afford it, means there is a problem that the state has failed to identify and address.

"The state authorities must, therefore, find out where the BCCI's water suppliers get their water from. That is not the BCCI's prerogative, it is the state's."

While the court stressed on the accountability of civic agencies, it also criticised the arguments made by the BCCI counsel in response to the PIL filed by Loksatta Movement, a Hyderabad-based NGO, which had demanded relocation of IPL matches from Maharashtra. The board's senior counsel, Rafique Dada, said that less water was used at the grounds during the IPL in comparison to preparations for an international match.

"For international matches, there is a requirement for pitches to be watered 48 hours prior to the match, but for IPL matches, it is just watered twice a day on the day of the match." Dada submitted. "Therefore, if taken to its logical conclusion, there is less water used during the IPL than otherwise."

Dada added that apart from watering pitches, the remaining usage of water was "routine" by the standards of "all international stadia for its day-to-day maintenance". He also argued that prohibiting such day-to-day maintenance would lead pitches and grounds of international standards to "die a natural death".

In response, Justice Kanade observed: "We were expecting you (the board) to show some consideration or at least submit that you will consider using the water for the tournament responsibly. But here you are almost suggesting that grounds and pitches are more important than people who are dying without water in the state."

Arshil Shah, who represented the petitioners, insisted the court pass an interim order to stop the IPL matches in Maharashtra until the report from the state and civic agencies is submitted. The court rejected the suggestion. "Let the report be submitted, if it shows that moving the matches out of the state will help address the water drought situation, then we shall consider," the bench said.

The judges also stated that despite the timing of the PIL, the issue of a state-wide drought cannot be ignored: "We agree that the timing of the Petitioner just days before the start of the tournament shows they may not have the best intentions at heart, but the larger issue of a state-wide drought cannot be ignored."

Overall Maharashtra is scheduled to host 20 matches in the ninth edition of the IPL. Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai will host eight matches, including the tournament opener on April 9 and the final on May 29. Nine matches have been allotted to the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium in Pune, including the Eliminator on May 25 and Qualifier 2 on May 27, while three matches will be played at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur, designated as home games for Kings XI Punjab.

Raunak Kapoor is a presenter at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets @RaunakRK

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • tariq.5397224 on April 10, 2016, 8:10 GMT

    BCCI/IPL has a heap of money. They can easily commission a water desalination plant for use by their stadia as well as for the people of Mumbai. They should do their CSR in a big way.

  • ramana on April 8, 2016, 17:34 GMT

    drought!!!, stopping the matches is correct solution??? in simple its a big joke. come on u have different solutions other than this.

  • Indian on April 8, 2016, 17:23 GMT

    Will they also go after the numerous water parks or normal jogging parks which are maintained even in small towns,Golf courses , how about banning leather,newsprint, chemical,bottling industries which are huge water guzzlers, how about taking on the biggest water guzzlers the mighty sugarcane lobby ?? this is misplaced Judicial activism .Nothing more than that.

  • Gavin on April 8, 2016, 6:56 GMT

    Having experienced drought about 10-12 years ago in the area I live, where we went through rigorous water restrictions, the authorities never considered cancelling any sporting events and I think rightly so. In times of drought which are very hard you can't have anything that will negatively affect the morale of the population.

  • Adam on April 8, 2016, 6:32 GMT

    India has their priority locked down right.

  • steven leitao on April 8, 2016, 5:19 GMT

    Stopping the IPL matches and future tournaments is a temporary solution.

    They should focus more on 1. Water Harvesting 2. Recycling Water 3. Maintaining water supply system.

  • Mann on April 8, 2016, 1:32 GMT

    what about other places where there is wastage of water. court does not care for those. They cannot react to just one situation like this. The stadium is like a green patch. The court should know this much atleast. Even if they dont play match you have to water the ground.

  • Jay on April 7, 2016, 23:30 GMT

    @CaseyWilliamOZ: India is a vast, culturally unique, ethnically varied, religiously differed, politically volatile, linguistically diverse, and geographically tough nation; unlike any on this planet. Every nook and corner of India is special. India is a miracle. So if there are problems in India, it can be forgiven. For a tournament like the IPL, you would need all factors to be favorable. We know cricket and politics go hand in hand in India. So it's not a surprise that politics once again has taken the first headlines during this season of IPL. State politics in India is nothing new. A few seasons ago the state of Tamil Nadu objected to SL players playing in Chennai. Pakistani players are not wanted in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi etc. So you see, it can never be perfect for the IPL in India. But, the show will go on; India is a miracle and it's still the Mecca of cricket.

  • Casey on April 7, 2016, 15:09 GMT

    There is a reason why India is, the way it is!!

  • shripad on April 7, 2016, 12:48 GMT

    I am going to play devil's advocate here.

    Why only target IPL? Why not discontinue all so called "unnecessary" frills then.

    Stop all pubs, discos, restaurants, hotels, all public entertainment events? Can they do that? Of-course not. Then why are they singling out IPL?

    I can understand for Nagpur. But Mumbai and Pune have enough water supply to last until august with limited water cut that is already in place. And yes, that is calculated taking into account these games.

    All 3 grounds are already using optimum water to maintain the outfield. The systems which were installed while building these new grounds took that into consideration. Even the type of grass used is meant to grow with minimal use of water. This is the case with all new stadiums in India.

    It is not about giving importance to IPL over the drought situation, but you cannot stop one thing and hope it helps other. Because, it wont help drought victims in other parts of Maharashtra one bit.

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