This year’s Indian Premier League (IPL) is due to kick off on April 9 in Chennai. IPL matches in Mumbai are scheduled from April 10 to April 25 at Wankhede stadium near Marine Drive and the local residents here have urged Chief Minister (CM) Uddhav Thackeray in a letter for change in the venue amid rising COVID-19 cases in the state including Mumbai, which is the worst affected city.
The residents’ fear comes true as a large number of people thronged the hotel at Nariman Point where the cricketers are staying on Monday.
Ashit Shroff, resident of D-Road across Wankhede Stadium, who is also a member of the Marine Drive Residents' Association, has raised concern on behalf of all the residents regarding their health in this pandemic time, especially the senior citizens who would be affected due to IPL Matches.
“How the matches are being allowed in the Covid times? State government on Sunday directed to close down all public places including sports complexes still they are breaching their own guidelines,” he said.
He mentioned, "It is shocking. On one hand, the city is deeply affected by COVID-19, and the state government is compelled to restrict religious and social activities like marriages, deaths, etc and contrary to this in these difficult times an IPL Cricket match of such a magnitude lasting over several days permitted."
"We urge change in the location of IPL match to DY Patil stadium or any other venue which is in a non-residential area," he appealed.
Furthermore, in the letter, the residents have stated that though spectators are not allowed but there will be people gathering to see the cricketers passing by in their buses resulting in a crowd in their area. Besides, the IPL match will cause parking restriction for D -Road residents which is extremely difficult for the senior citizens and unacceptable in the times of Covid-19, as anyone can be in an emerging situation.
While a local resident said, "The IPL match can turn out to be a super spreader event. How safe it is for players also? As we are seeing mutant of variants and surge in COVID-19 cases drastically."
Meanwhile, amid rising cases of Covid-19 the state government on Sunday April 4, issued a guideline for what is opened and what remains close. In the fresh guidelines though recreational and entertainment places to remain close including sports complexes. However, due to no update from IPL match organisers whether Mumbai will continue to remain one of the venues is not clear.
Reportedly, a total of 10 matches are scheduled to be played at the Wankhede. Last year also SoBo residents of Marine Drive Residents Action Group (MDRAG) had written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mumbai Police and requested that cricket matches of the IPL should not be held to prevent the spread of virus.