Two days before the sixth season of Indian Premier League (IPL) kicks off, Maharashtra Opposition leader Vinod Tawde on Sunday demanded the game to be moved out of the drought-struck state.
Stating that large volumes of water will be wasted for the maintenance of the cricket grounds if the matches were held in Maharashtra, Tawde wrote to IPL chief commissioner Rajeev Shukla and the managements of Wankhede stadium, Mumbai; DY Patil stadium, Navi Mumbai and Subrata Roy Sahara stadium, Pune seeking postponement or shifting the matches from the state.
"The maintenance of each cricket ground during the IPL season needs 60,000 litres of water every day. With the season to run for 36 days, water consumption per ground during this period would be 21.6 lakh litres per ground. This is an abominable waste of water in the wake of the acute shortage of the water in the state," the letter stated.
Tawde also said that he was aware that the government earns huge sums as entertainment tax through sale of IPL tickets but that water is far more important than the revenue generated.
"The water, which will be wasted during the matches, is far more valuable than the tax to be accumulated. The matches serve no purpose other than entertainment which is not important when nearly half the state is struggling to survive," he said in the letter.
Besides Tawde, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, Shiv Sena and the Republican Party of India also objected to holding IPL matches in Maharashtra citing the same reasons. Shiv Sena even demanded the owners of various IPL teams to jointly contribute ₹500 crore towards the drought relief of the state from the revenue generated through the matches.
The organisers of the limited over matches have scheduled 16 matches in Wankhede stadium in Mumbai and Sahara stadium in Pune.
The sixth season of IPL will begin on 3 April in Kolkata with last season's winner Kolkata Knight Riders taking on Delhi Daredevils. The match will end on 26 May.