The state of Maharashtra is on a sticky wicket as the water woes seem to never end affecting 10 per cent to 53 per cent in its different parts. What is enough to shock any conscientious citizen is that BCCI plans to hold the first 20 matches of the IPL season here as the state cries in droughts.
What you can easily conclude is that the gallons of water required to maintain the pitches is a luxury that Maharashtra cannot afford.
After a petition is filed to the Bombay High Court against this blatant insensitivity, the court is mulling over whether or not to play the matches on the baked lands.
Now, what nauseates me to the core is as to how the society can be so insensitive and hypocritical to the deepest fibre.
I know cricket runs in your veins and I know loving cricket is a natural imperative for most of you but do we take leave of our conscience and common sense?
Have we become morally and ethically hollow?
To add injury to insult here are some of the arguments made in the defence of IPL (in the increasing order of absurdity):
1. “I don’t think that it is a solution. You have to find out the root cause of the main problem. As I mentioned, it’s been bad as far as monsoon are concerned. It’s not only a problem in one state but throughout the country. So, shifting from Mumbai will not be a real solution,“- (Very Very Smart) Laxman
Because of course, stalemate is better than precaution, right?
2. Other states are hit by drought too:
As per reports, 9 farmers commit suicide in Maharashtra daily and 2016 has recorded some 57 farmer suicides. Research shows that Maharashtra hasn’t seen a worse condition in the past 4 decades, worse than hardly any other part of India. It is highly callous to defend a multi-crore cricket extravaganza in the background of people surviving hand to mouth.
3. Mumbai can save 150% more water by having tea without sugar for a day than an IPL ban in drought-hit Maharashtra-
The argument is vacuous at best. In a drought hit area, every drop of water is precious and every iota of effort counts. By fighting over numbers we are only trivialising human life more than anything else.
4. Will 60 lakh litres of water really make a difference?
The IPL session to happen in Maharashtra will be consuming 6 million litres of water. However, this water, if allowed, can quench 3 villages for a month, as much as 20 four-storeyed apartments in Mumbai and muster electricity for around 150 villages for a month.
5. The water we are using is non-potable:
Even non-potable water can be effectively employed to save dry lands than using gallons to water lush green fields.
6. IPL is being targeted for Maharashtra’s droughts
As easy as it is to believe that the petition against IPL is symbolic of the aversion of people to it, the question is not whether shifting the IPL solely will save the parched state or whether the 60 lakh litres of water will solve the water crisis. The question is as to where our moral compass points that it is absolutely unavoidable to shift the matches from Maharashtra when it cannot afford this luxury given the worst drought conditions it has been seeing and may continue to see.
On one hand where farmers are ending their life, people are suffering from acute water scarcity, BCCI shows petty concerns over making last minute changes to the pre-decided events. Are we weighing the cost of human lives against some loss and inconvenience in shifting venues?
The stark disparity cannot be brought to light better, as where on one hand most of the crowd will uninhibitedly cheer and open beer cans enjoying the summer break, a considerable section of people will perish due to thirst, farmers end life and more than 70,000 less privileged students from drought-hit areas across the state will have dropped out of school owing to migration in the wake of acute water shortage in the villages.
It’s probably one of those village lanes that used to boast your personal cricket stadium back then, that are now bone dry.
The matches can be easily held in other states that can support them better.
The intention is not to target IPL (it makes enough controversies for itself) but just a kind premonition to the impending casualty that could plague the state and claim innocent lives.
It’s one great opportunity for the powerful to be proactive and make a positive change.
It’s sad how the glamour-laden cricket festival, more of a public façade, unites all hearts while against it is a humanitarian cause fighting for good enough reasons to deserve attention.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.