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April 24, 2018
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Won’t supply fresh water to IPL venues for 5 years: BMC to HCPIL points to 60 lakh litres per year for three stadiums hosting league matches

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) told the Bombay High Court on Friday that it will not provide fresh water to venues hosting Indian Premier League (IPL) matches for the next five years.

A Division Bench comprising Justices Abhay Oka and Riyaz Chagla was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Loksatta Movement. The petition says every year, 60 lakh litres are used to water cricket pitches for the IPL, when large parts of the State are reeling under the impact of several years of drought, considered to be the worst in a century. The water problem is acute and levels have dipped severely in dams and lakes.

The PIL mentions that the State has three IPL venues: Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, and one each maintained by the Maharashtra Cricket Association in Pune and the Vidarbha Cricket Association in Nagpur. It points out that during summer, water supply to the city is reduced by 15% to 25%. After admitting the petition, the court had sought to know details of the water policy followed by the civic body and the State government.

In the last hearing, the HC had asked the BMC if it would continue with its decision to not supply additional water to the Wankhede Stadium for this year’s IPL tournament. The Bench had asked the civic body to file an affidavit in this regard.

Move matches out: HC

On April 13, 2016, another Division Bench had directed that 13 IPL matches be moved out of the State. Four were to be played at the Wankhede, six in Pune and in and three in Nagpur. Earlier, the Advocate General had told the court that Mumbai uses 3,700 million litres per day (MLD). After the water is treated, 4,000 MLD are legally allotted to the city, and the amount of water provided to the stadiums is miniscule.

Acute water shortage

Several parts of the State, especially Marathwada and Vidarbha, faced a drought-like situation for three consecutive years due to poor rainfall. Only in the last two years has the monsoon been better, providing some relief to the State.

During the worst period, the State government was plying a water train to affected areas, including Latur district in Marathwada.

Worst-hit by the drought were farmers and farm animals, with many owners selling their cattle.