NO IPL in drought-hit Maharashtra? Govt takes tough step

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Mumbai, April 1: In a major setback for IPL organisers in Maharashtra, the state government on Monday, April 1 announced that water will not be supplied in cricket stadiums in Mumbai and Pune for the upcoming T20 tournament.

Clarifying the state government's stand on the issue, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar claimed that they can not allow wastage of water for such entertainment when the state is witnessing one of the worst droughts in its history.

Pawar's statement surfaced when opposition parties led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) created ruckus demanding to cancel scheduled IPL matches in Mumbai and Pune.

State legislative council Vinod Tawade has sent a letter to IPL chairman Rajeev Shukla trying to get his attention to the issue which would create furore for aam-aadmi (common man) of the state.

Tawade wrote, "As per my knowledge, 60,000 litre water would be used to maintain a cricket ground everyday. Thus, during the entire season of IPL matches spread over 36 days (from April 9-May 15 in Maharashtra), 21.6 lakh litre water will be used for a single ground."

"What sense does it make to use many thousand litres of water to maintain the pitch on which cricket matches are played? This water is used in a state seeing the worst drought of the century. It is not justified," asserted Tawade.

Earlier Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leaders also protested against supplying water for maintaining the stadiums.

Shiv Sena earlier had asked owners of IPL teams to contribute Rs 500 crore to drought relief fund of the state otherwise, "permission should not be given to play the matches in the state. If the government does not do so, Shiv Sena will decide what to do next."

Raj Thackeray also slammed BBCI chief Sharad Pawar as saying, "My question to Sharad Pawar - whose brainchild IPL is - is whether such matches should happen in the state at a time like this."

As per the schedule, total 16 IPL matches are to be played in Wankhede Stadium and Sahara Stadium in Mumbai and Pune respectively. The IPL 6 would be inaugurated on April 3.

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