Maharashtra government's decision to grant water to MCA illegal, rules Bombay High Court

Maharashtra government’s decision to grant water to MCA illegal, rules Bombay High Court

The authorities had been drawing about 2.5 lakh litres of water every day for pitch and ground maintenance.

Maharastra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune
Maharastra Cricket Association Stadium, Pune. (Photo Source: Twitter)

In a recent development, the Bombay High Court yesterday clearly stated that Maharashtra government’s decision of granting permission to Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) to draw water from Pavana river for ground maintenance was illegal. The court has further restricted MCA from drawing more water from the river. The authorities had been drawing about 2.5 lakh litres of water every day for pitch and ground maintenance of its stadium located at Gahunje village on the outskirts of Pune.

Previously, a public interest litigation was filed by NGO Loksatta Movement in 2016, raising concerns over water usage for ground management during the Indian Premier League (IPL) when Maharashtra was reeling with a drought. The petitioners’ demanded that considering the water situation in Maharashtra, no additional water be supplied to any stadium in the state for the IPL.

While passing the judgment the division bench of Justice A S Oka and Justice Riyaz Chagla said that the state government was not entitled to grant permission to the MCA for industrial purposes. The court in a judgement added, “We are shocked to note that for a period of six years, the state government has allowed the MCA to draw water from the Pavana river for industrial purposes when admittedly the MCA is not running any industry.”

IPL falls in the category of recreation

As per Maharashtra’s water policy, the supply of water for drinking and agricultural purposes falls in the first category, water for recreational purposes fall under the second last category and the supply of water for events such as the Kumbh Mela and others fall in the last category.

The court, in its order, has put an end to this debate, stating that cricket matches, including the IPL tournament, fall in the category of recreation. It also accepted the statement of both the Mumbai municipal corporation and the Mumbai Cricket Association that no water would be supplied for matches to be held at Wankhede stadium during the IPL Matches. Wankhede stadium has ring wells and has also developed the system of rainwater harvesting in its premises.

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