Water supply priority for drinking and sanitation: IPL

Mumbai, Mar 7 The Bombay High Court today reiterated that in times of water scarcity and drought, the priority for water supply would be given to domestic consumption purposes, such as drinking and sanitation, by Maharashtra state.
A bench of Justice A S Oka and RI Chagla said that in cases of conflict over the category that an event or activity must be classified into, the authorities must look at what the dominating purpose of such event was.
"In a case like the present, we have to check what the dominating purpose of the Indian Premiere League (IPL) is.
It is either a sports activity, or a commercial activity and therefore, will rank last on the water supply priority list," the bench said.
"However, the IPL organisers can’t say that since they use this water not just for pitch maintenance but also for the toilets and sanitation in the stadiums, it must get top priority," it said.
The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the NGO Loksatta Movement, opposing the IPL matches scheduled in Mumbai and some other cities in Maharashtra in the year 2016, because of the prevailing drought-like situation in Maharashtra at the time.
While the 2016 matches were shifted out of the state following the HC’s order, the PIL had also urged the court to ensure that the provisions of the state as well as the national water policy were adhered to for the IPL matches in the future.
Maharashtra’s own water policy and the national water policy mandates that when it comes to water supply, the first priority must be given to drinking and sanitation purposes, the second to agriculture, third to industrial needs, the fourth to sports, and the last to religious, and recreational activities.
On a previous hearing, the high court had directed the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) and the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) to clarify whether the IPL was a sports activity or a recreational activity.
The MCA, meanwhile, has maintained that irrespective of its placement on the water priority list, it will not use potable water either purchased privately, or provided by the civic body, for watering the pitches and for other maintenance work at the Wankhede stadium during this year’s Indian Premiere League matches.

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