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Will the IPL verdict solve our drought problem?

April 28, 2016 22:35 IST

The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai

IMAGE: The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

'Why is a commercial venture being held responsible for a situation caused by mismanagement of the state?' asks N Suresh.

So the Supreme Court has agreed with the Bombay high court verdict that IPL games should be shifted out of Maharashtra because of the severe drought.

I disagree with the verdict. Will the verdict solve our drought problem?

Will farmers stop committing suicide?

Will water be available to all?

Why is a commercial venture being held responsible for a situation caused by mismanagement of the state?

The cricket board had offered to use sewage treated non-potable water to water the cricket pitches. The BCCI said the two state franchises -- the Mumbai Indians and the Pune Super Giants -- would donate Rs 5 crore (Rs 50 million) each to the chief minister's relief fund to help fight the drought. The BCCI also offered to reimburse the costs of the water used previously.

The Bombay high court mentioned it expected the BCCI, the IPL and the franchises to show sensitivity and shift the games earlier.

Why? Why haven't factories, soft drink manufacturing units, stars hotels and elite clubs, swimming pools, water parks, liquor producing and other water utilising outfits shown more sensitivity?

Have people stopped using showers, washing their cars, begun sensibly using water?

An important aspect in this issue appears to have been overlooked. The petitioner in the case -- the Loksatta movement -- waited till the last moment to file a Public Interest Litigation. This gives no room to make modifications or changes.

By the end of October each year the Maharashtra government and municipal corporations in the state get a very clear picture of the water levels available and predicted for the summer. That is the reason why water cuts in Maharashtra begin from October-November.

By the beginning of summer the following year either the percentage of water cuts are reduced or increased. The BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation has been doing this for decades.

On August 24, 2015 as per the Maharashtra government's figures, large reservoirs in the state showed the following storage capacity: In Konkan 85 per cent; Marathwada 9 per cent; Nagpur 71 per cent; Amravati 66 per cent; Nashik 45 per cent; Pune 52 per cent. The total capacity of all large reservoirs at 46 per cent.

Marathwada had 9 per cent storage for large and medium reservoirs and only 5 per cent for small reservoirs. The total storage capacity for Marathwada was only 8 per cent. I don't think it is rocket science for people to understand there was not sufficient rainfall and the summer would be a very harsh one.

The state government failed the people of Marathwada, especially the poor.

While we seem to be now reacting as usual to disaster, measures to fill the reservoirs could have been taken from September 2015 itself.

Many petitions have been filed in the courts about the water crisis. Why has no criminal action bveen undertaken against officials and the irrigation minister? Why has the state government not been fined?

N Suresh
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