Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday refused to provide potable water for maintaining pitches for this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) and said he did not have any problem with matches being shifted out of the state.
“My government has taken a strong position in the High Court. We have said we will not provide potable water for IPL for this season. We don’t have any problem even if IPL is shifted, but no potable water will be provided,” he said.
Fadnavis said the government will not allow the IPL organisers to host the matches unless the state gets full assurance of using non-potable water.
“It was put forth by the organisers (IPL) that they would use non-portable water. We have said unless we ensure that it is non-potable water we cannot allow. So, we are okay even if it is shifted,” he added.
Declining to put on hold the inaugural match of the IPL 2016 season starting on Saturday, the Bombay high court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra government to specify whether the water supplied to various stadia was potable or non-potable.
A division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice MS Karnik said that until this was made clear, the issue of granting a stay o the match could not be considered.
The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the wastage of huge quantities of water for cricket pitches when the state is reeling under a severe water crisis.
The court directed the state government and the civic bodies where IPL matches are scheduled to be held to file separate affidavits by the next hearing date — April 12 — on the quality of water supplied to the stadia during the tournament.
It also asked the government and civic bodies to inform whether there was any policy on supplying potable or non-potable water to Mumbai, Thane and other cities in the state and if any contingency plans were ready to tackle the looming water crisis.
Maharashtra is scheduled to host 20 IPL matches in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, all cities facing water crisis of varying degrees, starting from April 9, with the first match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.