The Indian Premier League was informed that a number of key games need to be moved out of drought-hit Maharashtra. The decision came from the Bombay High Court, who has instructed the Board of Control for Cricket in India to move all the matches that have been scheduled for after 30th April.
The grace period has given the BCCI time to arrange venues for the 13 matches that had been scheduled to take place in Maharashtra. The IPl Final and Qualifier 1 will now take place in Bengaluru. It was proposed that the Qualifier 2 and the Eliminator would move to Kolkata.
On 7th April, a Public Interest Litigation plea was heard by the courts regarding the drought conditions in Maharashtra. It was noted that maintaining cricket grounds uses a huge amount of water, especially in drought conditions.
The court noted: “There is a drought situation in the State, there is not a drop of water available, all dams are drying. Shifting of the IPL matches alone won’t solve the problem, but it can be a beginning so that water used for pitches can be diverted to affected areas.”
There were six matches set to be held in the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Pune, four to be held at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, and three matches were set to take place in the Vidarbha Cricket Stadium.
The cricket franchises that are affected by the move are those who have Mumbai and Pune as their home bases. It is felt that the shift away from Maharashtra will negatively affect the teams. The franchises have offered to supply water to the areas that are suffering from the drought.
Those who brought the plea to the court have said that supplying extra water or paying compensation in order to keep the matches in Maharashtra are not solutions to drought problem.
Anurag Thakur, the BCCI Secretary, commented on the issue saying that this is simply an attempt to create negativity for the IPL: “We are not using drinking water, we have said that we’ll use treated sewage water only. How many swimming pools of 5 star hotels have been shut? Have people stopped watering their lawns?”