Maharashtra is set to host 19 Indian Premier League (IPL) matches between Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, with the popular Wankhede Stadium hosting the final, while also reeling with the worst drought to hit the state in the past 100 years. With this catastrophe in mind, BJP secretary Vivekananda Gupta has asked the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to shift the matches scheduled in Maharashtra out of the state citing the acute shortage of water.
“A standard cricket field requires close to 80,000 to 1,00,000 litres per application, considering the current state of affairs in Maharashtra, it is unethical to fulfill these demands,” stated Gupta in a letter addressed to BCCI Chief Shashank Manohar, “90 lakh farmers have been affected in the drought, with the Vidarbha region being the worse affected.” Per week, 3,00,000 litres of water would be required to meet the stadiums requirements, he wrote, further adding, “Is it wise to waste 70 lakh litres of water, when half the state can’t get a single drop of it? We must show our respect to the farmers, who are struggling right now.”
More water would be needed during hot and windy conditions and less during winter. So by the end of it, more than 70 lakh litres of water will be required to maintain the grounds for the 19 matches.
“The BCCI President himself hails from this region, and I’m sure he will be able to understand the current plight of Maharashtra. We as a collective unit should value the lives of people more than sport,” said Gupta. Maharashtra has the unfortunate distinction of being home to the highest number of farmer suicides in India. Records show that from January to October about 2,590 farmers committed suicide, the highest number since 2001.
Data obtained by The Hindu puts the number at 17,276 farmer suicide from 2001 to 2014.With the government having previously declared droughts in 12,000 Vidharbha villages and the protest of 30,000 farmers that raged in Nashik, Gupta’s request is not just justified, it’s also a necessity, and it cannot be ignored by the BCCI considering the Maharashtrian farmers dire situation.