Navi Mumbai: A day after chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said he is fine with the IPL moving out of the drought-affected Maharashtra, his party colleague and BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur on Saturday warned that doing so will result in a loss of Rs.100 crore for the state.
“Maharashtra gains Rs.100 crore from IPL and if the tournament goes out of the state, it will be a loss for the state,” Thakur told reporters on the sidelines of an event in Navi Mumbai. He said the figure is based on a study done by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) after the last edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Faced with criticism over huge quantity of water usage for pitches for IPL, Fadnavis had on Friday said “we do not have any problem, if IPL is shifted from Maharashtra this season. No potable water will be provided for IPL this year.”
Thakur suggested the money earned from IPL can be better utilised by the Maharashtra government for tackling drought and taking relief measures for the affected population.
It can be noted that Maharashtra will be hosting 18 matches, spread across Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, during this year’s season of the popular domestic T20 tournament.
He clarified the Cricket Board, too, is very concerned about the water crisis in the state and does not want to use potable water for maintaining the grounds. It is also mulling to adopt drought-hit villages along with the franchises, who have been asked to prepare a report on what else can be done on the drought-mitigation front, Thakur said.
The franchises and BCCI will be presenting their side to the Bombay high court on 12 April during hearing of a petition on shifting the IPL matches out of the state in the wake of water scarcity, he said.
A city-based NGO has petitioned the court challenging the use of over 60 lakh litres of water to maintain pitches and sought shifting of IPL matches out of the state given the second successive drought it is experiencing.
Thakur acknowledged the cash-rich tournament has always been dogged by “unwanted controversies” in its nine- year history but stressed the league does a lot of good by helping “talent meet opportunity”.
The multi-city event, which is spread over nearly two months, helps the country’s youth find right cricket opportunities and also boosts the tourism sector, said the 41- year-old BCCI secretary, who is also a Lok Sabha MP.