BCCI seeks refuge in sewage water for IPL 2016

Has tied up with Race Course for supply of sewage water during IPL.

Mumbai : The BCCI, hell bent on holding the IPL in drought-hit Maharashtra, has come up with an ingenious solution to ground maintenance in stadiums at Mumbai and Pune:  It will procure treated sewage water from the Royal Western India Turf Club at Maxalakshmi. This supply, according to sources, will run into 36 lakhs of Litres of water.

The BCCI plea came even as a special train carrying around five lakh litres of water reached parched Latur in Marathwada region, which is battling the worst drought ever. This submission was made by BCCI counsel Rafiq Dada even as the Bombay High Court said that a forensic lab must confirm whether the water that was used for the opening match of the IPL tournament at Wankhede Stadium was potable or treatable water meant for drinking. The two-judge bench of Justices V M Kanade and M S Karnik was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Loksatta Movement challenging the use of large quantities of water in stadiums despite the state being drought-hit. Depending on which way the verdict goes the fate of nine IPL matches in Pune and eight in Mumbai hangs in balance.  Three matches are also slated to be held in Nagpur.

Elaborating on its sewerage water proposal, BCCI counsel contended that daily 7 to 8 tankers of treated sewage water would be supplied to the stadiums. He further reasoned that the use of treated sewage water should be encouraged because normally it is released into the sea and goes waste. “In this case, instead of discharging treated sewage water into the sea, we will use it in the stadiums,” BCCI counsel argued.

The Bombay High Court, however, seemed to be sceptical about the proposal and asked the BCCI whether organisers could voluntarily shift IPL matches out of Pune.  The judges also asked whether the board was ready to supply the same quantity of water it had supplied to stadiums to parched villages in and around Pune.

The bench also asked the RWITC to give an undertaking whether it would supply treated sewage water for the ground maintenance in Pune.

To allay the court’s misgivings, the state government provided the court with a detailed report on how it is tackling the drought. The update information included a reference to a special train that pulled into Latur on Tuesday with huge supplies of water.

A few days ago, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had said “it would not bother me” if the IPL is moved out of Maharashtra. Repeating that stand, the government told the court that it has no objection if matches are cancelled, “even though there is a loss of revenue.” This did not go down well and according to a TV channel the judges responded, “Loss of revenue – that’s what they are worried about, not people.”

The judges also asked the cash-rich BCCI if it is willing to donate to the Chief Minister’s drought relief fund. The hearing was finally adjourned and will continue on Wednesday.

IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab has already agreed to shift matches to Mohali or elsewhere if the HC gives it a directive.

 To justify his stance, BCCI lawyer brought in the court half a litre water sample being used for maintaining pitches. He said it was murky and also unfit for drinking, to establish that the board is using sewage water.

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