Another IPL, another crisis









By Gaurav Joshi

The IPL is into its ninth season and it still keeps producing talent and drawing fans through the gates.   However, it is never short of controversies and this year once again it has been muddled by government politics in fight for the upper hand over the water crisis in the State of Maharashtra. It led to the Mumbai High Court ordering all matches in the State to be moved out in the month of May.   This would affect 13 matches overall but who is to blame for this chaos?

Due to the reduction of rainfall over the last year the eastern part of Maharashtra has been starved of water.   There is no drinking water, nor is there any for irrigation and the situation has lead to nearly 500 farmers committing suicide.

So, how does it affect the IPL? Well firstly there are two IPL franchises from Maharashtra, the Mumbai Indians and the new comers, Rising Pune Supergiants. That meant nearly 20 matches were scheduled during the peak of the summer in the affected state.   While Mumbai might not suffer as much, the idea of initially hosting the IPL finals in Pune and playing three of Punjab matches in Nagpur was clearly unlawful.

Nagpur, the city scheduled to host three matches, is the home city of the current BCCI president, Shashank Manohar. Maybe that played a role.   But the fact that the drought in and around countryside of Nagpur are the most severe, one has to ponder why 10 matches were played there during month of March in the World T20? Once again the politicians and the BCCI did not seem to be on the same wave length.

One has to remember that if a city hosts an IPL, the business in the local city flourishes but on the other hand the local water supply is deemed to be reduced due to water needed to maintain the ground and the pitch.

It casts back to the statistics that out of the 500 farmers that had committed suicide, 380 of them did it because they did not have money to pay back their agricultural loans. So, in that scenario the BCCI had decided to assist the farmers of the rural areas by donating one million dollars for the relief fund.

But what about the water crisis? How can BCCI assist with filling water into dams and bringing water into people homes? The honest answer is that this is the State Government’s challenge and not the BCCI’s.

The most notable statistic is that 0.001% of the water supply in Maharashtra was needed to host the 13 matches that were moved out of the state.   It might be low percentage and given the effect on humans it might be a right decision but logically all it has done is that it has   taken the focus off the Government.

Realistically there should or could have been attempts made to firstly transport water in the rural areas.   The BCCI had already assisted with the funds and also stated the water used for the grounds will be recycled water.

Now the revenue from the matches that were initially scheduled in the drought-ridden State will only assist other States.   In the meantime, five star hotels and private clubs will continue to operate as usual in Maharashtra.

Moving the IPL out of the State was just a blind decision. The BCCI and the Government have neither satisfied the cricket lovers nor the farmers.   Cricket will continue to grow across the nation, as will the IPL but sadly it has created yet another controversy in the long chapter of the IPL.



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