New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) owner Ness Wadia has supported the idea of shifting Indian Premier League (IPL) matches out of Maharashtra in the face of water crisis in the state.
Maharashtra is scheduled to host 20 IPL matches in three venues — Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur. All three cities are currently experiencing a water crisis with the Indian summer just hotting up.
Kings XI Punjab are scheduled to play three ‘home’ matches in Nagpur and Wadia said that the franchise is considering the option of shifting those games to some other venue in view of the severe water scarcity in Maharashtra.
“We are definitely considering shifting the matches on humanitarian grounds. The consideration has been done internally. Obviously, we can’t hold matches when people of India are suffering and water crisis is a serious issue,” Wadia told Times Now on Monday.
The staging of IPL matches in drought-hit Maharashtra has attracted a lot of controversy with an NGO named Loksatta Movement filing a PIL in the Bombay High Court demanding that the lucrative Twenty20 league should be shifted out of the state.
The NGO has claimed that more than six million litres of water would be utilised to maintain cricket pitches at the three stadia in Maharashtra where IPL matches are scheduled to be held.
The Bombay High Court had also suggested that IPL matches should be shifted out of the state. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for Tuesday.
The court allowed the opening IPL match between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants at the Wankhede Stadium on April 9 to go through as scheduled as it felt that the PIL had been filed too late and there was not sufficient time to arrange for an alternate venue.
However, the fate of the remaining 19 matches in the state is still in doubt.
BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur virtually asked the Maharashtra government to choose between water or money last Staurday, asserting that the state exchequer could lose approximately Rs.100 crore if IPL matches are shifted out of the state.
Earlier on Monday, Bengaluru-based advocate and environmental activist filed a PIL before the Karnataka High Court, demanding that IPL matches be shifted out of the city.
The petitioner also demanded that the Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board should submit an audit report on the usage of water for IPL matches at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Royal Challengers Bangalore are scheduled to play their home matches at Chinnaswamy Stadium.